VANCOUVER -- Changes were announced Monday to how paid parking is enforced in the City of Vancouver and at B.C. medical facilities.

Drivers will no longer have to pay at metered parking spaces in the city, and enforcement is being suspended in rush-hour zones.

Residential permit-parking zones will also not be enforced, and time limits imposed on some spots will be cancelled for the time being.

However, not all infractions will be ignored. A driver caught breaking the rules by blocking a fire hydrant or driveway, or using an accessible parking without a permit, for example, can still be ticketed or towed.

Hospitals and health-care facilities

At the same time, the province announced sweeping chances related to health facilities.

Patients, visitors and employees will no longer have to pay for parking near B.C.'s hospitals, the province's health minister said Monday.

Adrian Dix announced the suspension of payments, which comes into effect April 1, during a daily news conference on the toll of COVID-19 in B.C.

He said the policy applies to all sites owned and operated by health authorities until further notice. This includes lots owned and operated by health authorities, as well as designated Impark lots near those health facilities.

In addition, Vancouver Coastal Health said it's worked with municipal governments in Vancouver, Richmond and North Vancouver to allow for unrestricted street parking in the neighbourhoods near hospitals.

In an emailed statement, VCH said any tickets to physicians and staff will be waived, if they were received while the staff member was parked near Vancouver General Hospital, Richmond Hospital or Lions Gate Hospital.

VCH said staff would be given instructions on how to have these tickets waived.

The changes are in co-ordination with those announced on the provincial level Monday afternoon.

"This change makes it easier for individuals to avoid touching screens and buttons at payment kiosks that may have been touched by someone previously, and also supports physical distancing measures that have been mandated by our provincial health officer," Dix said.

However, he added, there are different set-ups at different facilities.

For example, some health-care workers see funds come off their paycheques to cover parking. Those deductions will not occur, he said.

Criticism prior to changes

The announcement comes a few days after a nurse in Vancouver was fined after forgetting to pay when she arrived at work.

She said she normally does, but was tired from working long days and forgot this one time. When she returned to her car after work she found a ticket for $80.

The nurse said she spoke to the company and agreed to pay $38. The company told CTV News Vancouver on Monday that it had since been decided she would be refunded and the ticket would be cancelled.

While many criticized the company for patrolling the lot at all, the company said it is continuing to enforce parking in an effort to support health-care workers.

With files from CTV News' Melanie Nagy and Allison Hurst