Laval cancels 600 summer activities, saying they can't be done safely

The city of Laval has officially cancelled or postponed all of its 600 cultural events planned for this summer, including festivals, family activities and the Laval à vélo bike tour.

The municipality is working on safer “alternative artistic offerings” that will provide creative activities without risking spreading COVID-19, said Laval mayor Marc Demers in a statement Thursday.

The city will also be launching a support program for cultural groups in order to cushion the blow of losing a season of revenue. The cancellations were decided in discussions with event organizers, Demers said.

“We made this decision mutually,” he said, adding it would just be too hard to enforce social distancing guidelines during the normal kinds of summer gatherings.

“We are also fully aware of the impact of this decision on citizens, cultural organizations, workers and artists,” he said. “But we want to respect the measures that will help fight the pandemic, and we are above all committed to protecting the population.”

Cancelled events include everything scheduled at a park or public space, including the Zones musicales, le Théâtre à ciel ouvert outdoor cinema festival, special days for children held by animators at the Nature Centre, and other outdoor summer programming.

Other, one-time events scattered throughout Laval have now been nixed as well: celebrations like the Fête nationale, the Fête de la famille in September, and the Laval à vélo cycling tour, also in September.

Some things will continue but in an altered way. The Lavallois blood drive, which was scheduled for September 10 and 11, should still take place but with a new system that its organizers are working to prepare, said the release. 

The city is also asking community groups throughout Laval to cancel any of their own planned gatherings, saying it will help stop the spread of COVID-19 over the summer.

Detailed plans on the alternative, less risky creative activities will be announced when they’re finalized, Demers said.

Together with Culture Laval, the City of Laval is developing a support program for cultural organizations that will be directly affected by the pandemic. It aims to meet their current needs and support them as they gear up for recovery one day. 

Residents can check the full list of cancelled activities on a municipal website dedicated to the pandemic.

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