The rise of the omicron variant of COVID-19 has cancelled several industry events planned for this month.
Both the Pacific Agriculture Show and BC Dairy Industry Conference have made the difficult decisions to postpone in-person events until protocols around COVID-19 stabilize.
While the Pacific Agriculture Show intended to decide by January 17 on whether or not to postpone proceedings or pivot to a wholly virtual event, organizer Jim Shepard acted early in order to give exhibitors certainty regarding travel arrangements.
“The latest BC provincial health authority regulations have cancelled all events until January 18,” Shepard said in an e-mail to stakeholders December 27. “Given this uncertainty and the recent uptick in COVID cases, we have made the decision to move the show to new dates, March 31-April 2.”
Shepard promises further details in the coming weeks, noting that sponsors and exhibitors supported postponing the show as “the best and most responsible option.”
An e-mail the following day from the Lower Mainland Horticultural Improvement Association announced that the annual growers short course would move with the show. While field work might mean lower physical attendance, growers will continue to have to option to attend virtually and access sessions in the weeks following the course.
The new restrictions have meant the outright cancelling of the BC Dairy Industry Conference as an in-person event. It is the second cancellation for the conference, which was originally set to take place in December but was rescheduled when flooding hit the Fraser Valley in November.
Instead, the BC Dairy Association will offer a producer education session January 19 featuring presentations originally scheduled for the January 17-18 conference. Details of the new online event, Feeding the Future: Advancing Dairy Processing in BC, will be available this month.
Despite the cancellations, the Mainland Milk Producers intend to hold an in-person annual general meeting this Friday at the Clarion Hotel in Abbotsford. Business meetings are allowed at 50% capacity, underscoring how evolving protocols are facilitating beneficial social interactions while mitigating public health risks.