Don’t be irresponsible.
That’s the message coming from Metro Vancouver as another sunny weekend beckons. The region has issued a press release reminding people to enjoy the outdoors – and regional parks in particular – responsibly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Metro Vancouver has kept regional parks open as outlets for people to safely enjoy the outdoors, but we are seeing too many visitors neglecting physical distancing guidelines, raising the risk of community virus transmission,” said Sav Dhaliwal, a Burnaby city councillor and chair of the Metro Vancouver board of directors. “As Dr. Henry warned earlier this week, we must keep our physical interactions to about 60% of normal in order to avoid a major spike in new cases.”
Beach parks, especially White Pine Beach at Sasamat Lake in Belcarra Regional Park and Boundary Bay Regional Park, have experienced high demand, especially on weekends, leading to local traffic, parking and physical distancing challenges.
Parks visitors are asked to follow these guidelines:
- Choose parks in your own area – do not travel across the region.
- Avoid beach parks – explore nearby trail-based parks instead.
- Walk, bike or take transit to avoid contributing to traffic and parking issues.
- Maintain physical distance of at least two metres from others at all times, including in parking lots.
- Dispose of tissues and other waste in designated garbage bins.
- Pack it in, pack it out – do not leave any items behind in parks.
- Wash or sanitize hands frequently during the day and upon returning home.
- Stay home if you are sick.
The press release notes that all Metro Vancouver regional parks are open. Metro Vancouver has increased staff patrols, sanitation of high-touch surfaces and traffic management and continues to monitor and manage visitor behaviour.
Staff are reassessing the status of each regional park on an ongoing basis. Amenities including playgrounds, picnic shelters, group camps and reservable facilities are open, and some nature programs have resumed with modifications. Parking restrictions are in place at select parks, and municipalities have ramped up parking enforcement in residential areas near regional parks.
Please check Metro Vancouver’s website for the latest parks service advisories.
“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 sensible,” said director John McEwen, chair of Metro Vancouver’s regional parks committee. “Please do your part to reduce crowding and keep each other safe, so that we can continue to keep our regional parks open.”