The organizers of tonight’s planned drive-in concert from the CN Centre rooftop abruptly postponed the event late Friday night after the provincial health officer amended her previous order restricting mass gatherings.
"While Phase 2 is now underway, the provincial health officer order restricting mass gatherings to no more than 50 individuals remains in place," the statement from Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix issued Friday afternoon said. "Further, the order has been amended to also include no more than 50 vehicles for outdoor drive-in events, with a restriction on the sale of refreshments. Anyone attending these events must stay in their cars unless they have to go to washrooms, which must be serviced with running water for proper hand hygiene."
The Rooftop Rock concert, featuring local band Studio 720, had been initially planned for Canadian Tire as a fundraiser for the Wheelin’ Warriors of the North, a local cycling team that raises funds for the BC Cancer Foundation. The group recently passed the $1 million mark in total funds raised and was hoping to add another $10,000 with the concert. The event was moved to Exhibition Park due to growing interest. Vehicles were to be parked in a checkerboard-type manner, where every second parking space would be left open and the spot behind and in front of each vehicle would also be empty.
“To say that we’re disappointed and frustrated by the lack of clarity and last-minute communication as it pertains to our event is well beyond an understatement,” event producer Kyle Sampson said in a media release issued late Friday night on social media. “We wholeheartedly disagree with how the order was delivered and the lack of clarity it provides but we’re complying and postponing the event because following these recommendation is the right thing to do.”
“I believe the citizens in BC are doing their best to follow and adhere to government direction and recommendations,” event partner Selen Alpay said in the release. “Receiving this information almost literally at the very last moment – 4:30 on a Friday before the event on Saturday – is beyond an inconvenience.”
“The drive-in concert was a free fundraising event and album launch party with the intention of bringing a bit of ‘normalcy’ to music lovers in Prince George,” organizers stated in the release. “It was designed in a safe and socially responsible manner to raise spirits, bring together the community, and met the standards of safety as informed by the recommendations and advisement of Northern Health. While Northern Health does not ‘approve’ public gathering and events, event organizers were informed by health officials that it met all of their requirements and standards.”
"We are finding our new balance between protecting our health and reopening many of the businesses and activities that are important to all of us," the statement by Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said. "Phase 2 of our BC's Restart Plan is about pausing before moving forward; being thoughtful and cautious to keep everyone safe, while COVID-19 remains in our communities."
Donations are still being collected by the Wheelin’ Warriors of the North through the group’s Facebook page.