Visitors to Metro Vancouver Regional Park don’t physically distance themselves

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BURNABY (NEWS 1130) – Metro Vancouver is warning people to stay a safe distance from others as area parks become increasingly crowded amid a recent increase in COVID-19 cases across the province .Beach parks, especially White Pine Beach at Sasamat Lake in Belcarra Regional Park and Boundary Bay Regional Park, have seen high demand, especially on weekends, leading to problems with local traffic, parking and of physical distance, according to the Metro Parks press release.

“Metro Vancouver has kept regional parks open as outlets for people to enjoy the outdoors safely, but we see too many visitors neglecting physical distance guidelines, increasing the risk of community virus transmission,” said Sav Dhaliwal, Chairman of the Board of Metro Vancouver.

“Like Dr. [Bonnie] Henry warned earlier this week, we need to keep our physical interactions at around 60% of normal in order to avoid a major spike in new cases, ”he adds.

If park visitors ignore this advice, regional parks could close.

“Connecting with nature is a great way to reduce stress and promote physical and mental well-being, but only if park visitors are careful and sane,” says John McEwen, Parks Committee Chair of Metro Vancouver.

“Please do your part to reduce overcrowding and keep each other safe, so we can continue to keep our regional parks open.”

Meanwhile, lack of physical distance and overcrowding forced the Cultus Lake Park Council to close the lake’s two main docks. While the council says it has tried to encourage visitors to stay at least six feet apart, people haven’t changed their behavior.

« [T]The council sees no other option at this time than to close the two sections for health and safety reasons, ”the council said in a statement.

With no indication of when the Cultus Lake docks may reopen, council says it hopes this will be a temporary measure and the situation will be assessed daily.

Cultus Lake Park is still open, as are all of the Metro Vancouver regional parks.

Metro Vancouver has increased staff patrols, remediation of heavily impacted surfaces and traffic management, and continues to monitor and manage visitor behavior.

Facilities, including playgrounds, picnic shelters, group camps and bookable facilities, are also open, and some nature programs have resumed with changes.

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Parking restrictions are in place in some parks and municipalities have stepped up parking enforcement in residential areas near regional parks.

Visitors to the parks are invited to:

  • choose parks in your own area, do not travel to the area;
  • avoid beach parks, explore nearby parks instead;
  • walking, cycling or taking public transport to avoid contributing to traffic and parking problems;
  • maintain a physical distance of at least two meters from others at all times, including in parking lots;
  • dispose of fabrics and other waste in designated bins, wrap them;
  • pack it up, don’t leave any items in the parks;
  • wash or disinfect your hands frequently during the day and when you return home;
  • stay home if you are sick.

-With files from Kathryn Tindale



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