The province is slowly easing up on their restrictions, with the keyword being "slowly." But over the sunny weekend, many took it to mean "storm the parks in the thousands" instead. These crowded beaches in Vancouver look overstuffed, even for pre-pandemic B.C.
With near-Floridian temperatures reaching the high 20s over the weekend, thousands of Vancouverites decided it was a great idea to hit the beach.
From the evening of Friday, May 8 into Sunday, May 10, several of the city's beaches were packed.
It's possible the sudden surge of people were inspired to have a beach day because the province has started to lighten up their restrictions — but these restrictions haven't been completely lifted yet.
During an update on Wednesday, May 6, B.C. Premier John Horgan announced detailed plans on when the province could reopen. "Stage two" of the four-part plan would arrive in mid-May, he said.
Part of stage two is allowing gatherings of 2-6 people from outside your household group, he said. However, this is with social distancing, the B.C. Joint Information Centre told Narcity.
"We need to remind people that we’re not yet safe from this virus," said B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry during her daily update on Saturday, May 9.
Kind of shocked to see this level of crowding and an almost total lack of social distancing at Kits Beach Friday at… https://t.co/LfmjCckUyG— David Fine (@David Fine) 1589007501.0
These crowded beaches look even busier than they were near the start of the pandemic.
However, Henry reassured that most locals are following her advice and sticking to small groups with social distancing. "I think what we see is a visible minority of people," she said.
You wouldn’t know we’re in the midst of pandemic by looking at the crowded #Vancouver beaches today. Let’s flatte… https://t.co/cOVQeAfXom— Cst. Lee Marten (@Cst. Lee Marten) 1589070105.0
Kitsilano Beach, Vancouver Yesterday: Bare in mind Our Numbers in B.C. have been super low while all this going on.… https://t.co/FzatxuiDuN— ronan buckley (🐎Power) (@ronan buckley (🐎Power)) 1589030118.0
Henry introduced the idea of "pandemic bubbles" earlier, meaning that locals are allowed and encouraged to see their friends who don't live with them — as long as they keep to small groups and practice social distancing.
According to the government's calculations, we could start seeing up to 60% of our friends again, but it's a slippery slope. If we start connecting with 80% or more of our friends, we could see a spike in cases much greater than we had near the beginning, said Henry.
Throughout the pandemic, Henry and many experts agreed that it's super important to keep in touch with friends.
It's great for your mental health and wellbeing, as long as you're connecting safely and in moderation.