For the second year in a row, the grounds of the Pacific National Exhibition in Vancouver will remain silent due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The PNE announced early Wednesday that even a modified, lower capacity in-person fair will not be possible in 2021. As the largest employer of youth in the province, the PNE is a first job employer for generations of British Columbians. In total, the PNE employs 4,300 direct and up to 9,500 indirect jobs, including 4,200 CUPE 1004 members.
“Despite our planning for a number of scalable versions of the PNE Fair, it is now clear that the number of guests required to make an in-person Fair financially viable will not be allowed under anticipated Public Health Orders this summer,” says PNE spokesperson Laura Ballance.
“We understand the implications this decision will have on our staff team, our exhibitor and concessionaire partners as well as hundreds of thousands of annual guests, with whom we will look for ways to connect with once informed about what the summertime Health Orders will allow. We are committed to continuing to work with the Provincial Health Office to see what might be possible as the summer progresses.”
Andrew Ledger CUPE 1004 president says losing the fair for the second year is a massive loss of much-needed employment for union members.
“We are deeply concerned about the thousands of CUPE members that depend on the Fair each summer to pay their way through school or to help support their families,” Ledger said. “We do want to thank the more than 4,000 people who have engaged the www.savethepne.ca website and sent letters to the BC government to save PNE jobs, we hope their voices will be heard.”
The PNE expects further announcements about plans to connect with our guests in ways other than our traditional in-person Fair in the coming months.