AMS cancels all in-person events, reduces Nest seating as active COVID-19 cases surge

The AMS has cancelled all in-person events due to rising cases of COVID-19 in BC.

The cancellation applies to both AMS-organized events and in-person club or subsidiary events, leaving only virtual events.

This announcement comes in light of new provincial health orders restricting social gatherings in response to a surge of COVID-19 cases across the province, particularly in the Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health regions.

Under the new orders, British Columbians in those two regions must only interact with their immediate household, and those who live alone can meet with one or two individuals in their bubbles. Hosting indoor events is no longer permitted.

The restrictions are in effect until Monday, November 23.

BC reported 525 new cases today, with the total number of active cases surpassing 5,000. This is the fifth day in the past six where the number of daily new cases exceeded 500.

AMS Events came under fire on Twitter on Halloween weekend for hosting a bar crawl, posting images on Facebook of attendees not wearing masks or physically distancing at the event.

AMS President Cole Evans wrote in a press release that the pause on events will allow AMS Events and clubs to review their COVID-19 safety plans.

“Only when we’re confident that we can host events that are well within health authority guidelines will we consider organizing them again.”

While the focus remains on events, Evans said that AMS staff had reduced seating in the Nest and halved seating in the Gallery.

However, operations at the Nest will remain largely unchanged. Evans said the AMS faces challenges in verifying that visitors are keeping their bubbles small.

“It’s a difficult challenge because given that the Nest as a building is a semi-public space … it’s hard for us necessarily to enforce whether people are in the same bubble or not,” he said, adding that the AMS would consider further seating reductions as it monitors the situation.

The events department will also be reviewing its operations and be making changes going forward.