The Chemainus Visitor Centre, operated by the Chemainus & District Chamber of Commerce. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Long list of events disrupted by COVID-19 around the community

Challenging situation affecting fundraisers, entertainment, sports and more

Numerous events have already been cancelled around the community due to the COVID-19 pandemic and there’s more to come.


A panel discussion on climate change, co-hosted by Chemainus Climate Solutions and Chemainus United Church, was cancelled Saturday, March 14. It will be rescheduled at a future, yet undetermined, date.

“The things that bother me most about COVID-19 is that it appears to be infectious some days before symptoms appear,” noted spokesman John Silins. “That makes contact tracing extremely difficult, if not impossible. While the incidence rate now appears to be much lower than that for influenza, mortality is estimated to be five to 10 times greater than that for influenza. As things stand now the risk of exposure to the virus is low, however, it is a risk that needs not to be taken.”


Chemainus Theatre Festival also did the expected, shutting down production in the short term that resulted in the cancellation of two weeks of The Marvelous Wonderettes show. A decision is expected soon on The 39 Steps, due to start April 9.

The Cowichan Valley Memorial Midget C Hockey Tournament, scheduled to run Friday, March 20 through Sunday, March 22, was cancelled when Hockey Canada and BC Hockey sent out a notice to shut down all competitions.

Separate stories on both the Chemainus Theatre and the hockey tournament are in the March 19 edition of The Courier.


The upcoming Sunday, March 22 Chemainus Classical Concerts featured performance Cherry Blossoms with Anna Betuzzi (oboe) and Kelly Charlton (piano) is another casualty of the pandemic.

“Considering the current directives to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we have decided to cancel our March 22 concert,” noted Chemainus Classical Concerts artistic co-director Rykie Avenant.

“If you have already purchased a ticket for this concert from one of the ticket outlets, you may return the ticket to them for a refund.”

Season ticket holders are advised that the concert schedule is in the process of being rebuilt so these performers can be enjoyed at a later date.

“Hopefully April brings good news, and we can see you at our next concert,” added Avenant.


The celebration of life for Chemainus basketball star Bill Robinson Sunday, April 5 at the Cowichan Exhibition Ground’s Mellor Hall will not be going ahead as originally planned.

“We will have a website set up by April 5 to share the slideshow and some thoughts, as well as a place for people to leave comments should they wish,” noted Robinson’s daughter Ella.

They’re planning a family gathering in the summer instead.


With Chemainus being a tourist town, there are concerns about the industry.

Lori Frankson, executive director for the Chemainus & District Chamber of Commerce, indicated she hasn’t heard of any local bookings being cancelled yet.

“It is early days, though,” she conceded. “Our Wednesday market is due to start in the middle of May but we are hopeful that the virus will be under control by then. Again, all we can do is wait.”


The Chemainus Rotary Club’s Roaring ’20s themed auction and dinner April 4 at the Chemainus Theatre will be rescheduled.

“Please be advised that our auction is postponed, for now, and we hope to find an alternate date later in the year to hold the event,” reported club member Shannon Bellamy.


Hansel & Gretel’s Candy Co. Ltd. in downtown Chemainus announced it would be closing for two weeks starting Saturday March 14 due to the COVID-19 Virus. It had just reopened for the season March 1.

“During these uncertain times, we have chosen to be cautious for the protection of our staff, our customers and our community,” noted Kathy Yeager.

But any candy emergencies were being accommodated by calling 250-210-1061.

“We will reassess as more information becomes available,” added Yeager.


The Chemainus 55+ Activity Centre has elected to cancel its popular Monday night bingo sessions until further notice.

The St. Patrick’s Day dance at the centre March 14, featuring the Copper Canyon Band, was also cancelled.


The Chemainus Health Care Centre remains a primary area of concern, with patients vulnerable to viruses.

A notice posted outside the centre from Carmela Vezza, operations director of long-term care for Island Health, reads in part as follows:

“While the risk of spread within British Columbia remains low, we are taking precautionary steps to prevent illness caused by COVID-19 within long-term care facilities. We understand the importance of family and visitors to our residents and we are trying to balance resident health and safety with quality of life.

“Beginning immediately, anyone with symptoms of a cold or influenza, even a slight sniffle or scratchy throat, is asked to refrain from visiting a long-term care facility; we are also asking that you not bring pre-school or school aged children to the site, as children can be infected and show no symptoms; if you have been in contact with a person infected with COVID-19 during the previous 14 days, do not visit; and please limit your visit to your family member(s) or friend only.”


Cowichan Valley School District 79 students are currently into the second and final week of their spring break. More information is expected soon whether that break from school might be extended so parents are advised to start making alternate arrangements for their children now in the event classes remain out longer.


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Hansel & Gretel’s Candy Co. in downtown Chemainus. (Photo by Don Bodger)

The Chemainus Health Care Centre. (Photo by Don Bodger)

St. Michael and All Angels Anglican Church where the Chemainus Classical Concerts series performances are held. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Chemainus 55+ Activity Centre has shut down its regular Monday bingos for the time being. (Photo by Don Bodger)

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