Huge crowds of Vancouverites took to the streets over the weekend in protests. While local health officials say they stand by them and applauded their peaceful nature, they also said they've got to be careful. Any Vancouver protesters returning home should watch out for COVID-19 symptoms.

In her daily update on Monday, June 1, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry took a pledge to oppose racism and "uphold the values of diversity, inclusivity, and respect."

Afterwards, she touched on gatherings against racism.  Vancouverites have demonstrated against the police killing of George Floyd and the death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet, which has led to allegations of racially-motivated police brutality, over the weekend.

On Sunday, May 31, close to 3,500 people turned up to peacefully protest at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Henry said she was pleased to find most were wearing masks and social distancing.

However, while she notes that it's important to exercise your voice, she said we should remember we're still in a pandemic. It's still too dangerous to gather in large crowds, she said.

"Those who were there yesterday, you may have put yourself at risk. And you may bring that back to your home," she said.

"You need to monitor yourself carefully over the coming days — to two weeks. And if you have any symptoms at all, you need to self-isolate, you need to get tested."

"We cannot forget that we are in the middle of a pandemic that is affecting our communities and our loved ones," said  Henry.

"You need to be sure you're not contributing to further transmission of this virus."

Both Henry and Vancouver Police Chief Adam Palmer applauded the protesters for keeping it peaceful throughout the entire protest on Sunday, May 31.

Palmer tweeted that "everyone went home safely," when it was finished.

Henry's words echo those heard in Toronto, who also warned people to self-monitor for symptoms after coming home from large protests.

It's good to go out and use your voice, she said; just make sure you social distance while you're doing it so we can protect people who are most vulnerable.

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