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RCMP helicopters called in to disperse crowds in BC

RCMP utilized helicopters Friday to disperse a large crowd that had gathered at Vancouver’s English Bay against current health guidelines.

Officer were deployed to the beach around 10 PM. At least two people were arrested.

“Our officers were there to disperse the group and advise that the beach was closed,” Sgt. Steve Addison said.

“The helicopter was RCMP’s Air-1, which assisted in lighting up the beach to encourage people to go home.”

Numerous people online reported hearing helicopters and took to Twitter to record their findings.

“Gathering in parties where you are close together, drinking, not being masked up, not observing social distancing is a recipe to spread COVID,” Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said.

Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart also weighed in, tweeting that “now is not the time to be gathering in large groups.”

“So instead of adding to their plate, putting yourself & others at risk, and adding stress to our health care system, stay close to home and out of large groups,” Stewart wrote.

Despite these claims, evidence suggests the risk of transmission outdoors is marginal and that health benefits outweigh the risks.

"In the third wave, it is abundantly clear the people who are getting infected and sick enough to come in are those with heavy, prolonged indoor exposure," noted Dr. Sumon Chakrabarti.

"This is part of the reason why I'm such a proponent of trying to mitigate risk and move things outdoors," he said.

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