Coronavirus: Nightly applause for health care workers comes to Vancouver

The ritual of a noisy nightly “thank you” to health care workers fighting the novel coronavirus pandemic has come to Vancouver.

The practice, which caught on after spectacles in Italy and Spain, sees locals head out to their balconies, clapping, banging pots and joining in a raucous cheer in support of health care workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 fight.

West End resident Rory Richards got the ball rolling in Vancouver on Friday after creating an event on Facebook to spread the idea.

“An invite to the entire city to join us on our balconies and at our windows to show our gratitude for our healthcare workers on the front lines of fighting this virus, as well as all the essential workers who are putting themselves at risk so we have access to food, transportation and other essential services,” wrote Richards.

“Bring your self, your voice, your hands, an instrument and let’s unite in gratitude and MAKE SOME NOISE from our windows and balconies!”

The event, which takes place every evening at 7 p.m. has grown in size and decibel level every night since, spreading to other neighbourhoods in the city and even as far afield as New Westminster.

The ritual of support for frontline health care workers has also popped up in France, Denmark, the U.K., India and South America, with examples easy to find under the hashtag #Clapfordoctors.

It’s also become popular across Ontario, where people are organizing under the hashtag #Cheer4HealthWorkers.

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