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New West events a no-go after new COVID health order

Comedy, concerts and dance are among the events that can't go ahead this week, and New West's Landmark Cinemas is now closed
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Live entertainment - including theatre, music, dance and more - is cancelled until at least Dec. 7 in light of a new public health order.

Theatre and entertainment events in New Westminster are a no-go in light of the newest provincial health order.

The health order has banned the vast majority of “gatherings and events” until at least Dec. 7. The “event” category covers a sweeping list of items that includes “musical, theatrical or dance entertainment or performance, live band performance, disc jockey performance, strip dancing, comedic act, art show, magic show, puppet show, fashion show, book signing, reading, recitation, display, movie, film” and more.

Among the events unable to go ahead this week is the Comedy Makes Impact show that had been planned for Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy in downtown New West tonight (Tuesday, Nov. 24). The event is being rescheduled for January.

At the Massey Theatre, meanwhile, four nights of concerts by Bill Henderson (of Chilliwack fame) have been postponed. Henderson was to have been onstage nightly from Thursday, Nov. 26 through Sunday, Nov. 29.

Also off-limits to live audiences is the Co. ERASGA dance performance of Offering, which was to have been live at the Anvil Centre Theatre Nov. 28 and 29. Ticketholders for the live shows will receive refunds, but livestreamed performances will continue as planned.

Arts and cultural groups around B.C. had taken issue with being singled out in the newest health order, which came into effect Nov. 20.

The B.C. Alliance for Arts and Culture urged member groups to write to the province to advocate for a change to the order.

“While we appreciate the necessity of increasing restrictions at this time, live performance (including theatre, live music, and other forms of performance) is one of the few businesses that is mandated to close until at least Dec. 7, while movie theatres, restaurants, and bars may remain open. Despite the rising case count in our province, to our knowledge, there has been no outbreak in the live performance industry,” reads a suggested advocacy letter from the organization.“The live performance sector has proven its ability to safely operate. We ask that you consider live performance to be in the same category as movie theatres, and allow it to remain open as well. Singling out theatre companies, dance companies, symphonies, and other performing arts organizations for closure reinforces to audiences the misperception that the industry has not met the safety standards required to conduct business.”

Following that letter, the provincial health order was changed yesterday to expand the definition of “events” to include movies.

The New Westminster location of Landmark Cinemas has now announced its closure effective today (Tuesday, Nov. 24).

Restaurants, however, remain open – though provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry continues to reiterate that people should only be dining out with members of their own household.