Vancouver Canucks pushed on COVID-19 safety as some fans drop masks during games | The Canadian News

The Vancouver Canucks are being pushed to enforce COVID-19 health and safety rules as some fans have been caught without face masks during their games.

According to provincial health restrictionspeople attending indoor sports events must wear face masks unless eating or drinking, or unless they have a medical or age-based exemption.

Not everyone has followed those rules at Rogers Arena, where attendance is capped at 50 per cent and double-vaccination is enforced.

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In a written statement to Global News, the Canucks confirmed a few people have been removed from games for failing to adhere to public health restrictions, but the “vast majority” have been supportive and compliant.

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“Since the most recent provincial health order was introduced, we have increased enforcement of mask wearing, including more reminders on the big screen, increased signage and verbal reminders from our hosts in the stand,” wrote Michael Doyle, president of Canucks Sports and Entertainment and Business Operations.

“We will continue to collaborate with health officials to ensure protocols are followed at Rogers Arena.”

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BC Health Minister Adrian Dix said he thinks the measures the Canucks have taken to deal with the pandemic “are really effective,” and the team has worked “very hard.”

“What I’d say to the fans is that they have a responsibility to wear their masks, that it’s not an issue of eating nachos for three hours so you do not have to wear a mask,” Dix said in an interview. “It’s not a loophole, it’s a public health measure.”

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To help curb the spread of the Omicron variant, the City of Edmonton recently placed new restrictions on Rogers Place – eliminating food and beverage service from the stands at Oilers games, so face masks stay on at all times.

Dix would not indicate whether BC would consider such a measure, but said the province is in regular contact with the Canucks and he sure the issue of masking is being talked about.

While thousands continue to attend large sporting events in BC, in keeping with public health restrictions, owners of local wedding, catering and events planning companies have criticized the province for shutting them down.

It’s “extremely frustrating” to see images of unmasked fans in the stands at Rogers Arena, said Spotlight Events owner Paige Petriw, who argued her industry is being denied the opportunity to show that it can do a better job of enforcing the rules.

“Our jobs are to control the environment and the wedding and event industry has always been a highly-regulated industry,” she told Global News.

“There’s a misunderstanding that an event is just a raging house party that is completely out of control. If anything, an event is a more controlled environment than something like a Canucks game, or like the shopping mall, or Costco, or whatever you want to compare it to. ”

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Click to play video: 'COVID-19: The difference between event capacity in BC and indoor celebrations'

COVID-19: The difference between event capacity in BC and indoor celebrations

COVID-19: The difference between event capacity in BC and indoor celebrations

In a recent pandemic briefing, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry suggested Canucks games take place in larger settings with better ventilation and at half-capacity.

She also said there are “very, very many” event planning events, like weddings, where COVID-19 has been transmitted in BC, citing close connections between guests and alcohol consumption as risk factors.

Petriw said events planners are experts in this kind of management, and the province’s approach has left the industry feeling “ignored,” “belittled” and “misunderstood.”

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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