Vancouver's park and beach parking lots to remain closed as rangers hand out 1,880+ physical distancing warnings
VANCOUVER -- Parking lots at Vancouver's beaches and parks will remain closed as a result of what the Vancouver Park Board described as a "decrease in public compliance" with physical distancing.
In a statement released Monday, the park board said staff had tentatively planned to reopen the lots this week but have decided not to go ahead with that plan. The park board said its rangers issued more than 1,880 warnings this weekend alone to people who were not complying with the provincial health officer's recommended two-metre distancing guidelines.
"This weekend, our staff observed larger than normal groups of people at destination beaches, as well as a notable reduction in physical distancing," Shauna Wilton, deputy general manager of the park board, said in a news release. Rangers have been monitoring physical distancing at parks and beaches, and overall, have issued more than 11,079 physical distancing warnings, according to the board.
"While we echo Dr. Bonnie Henry's advice to get outside, we need to ensure the public is able to do so safely and we want to remind people to access their neighbourhoods spaces and refrain from driving to destination locations," Wilton said.
The parking lots were closed on March 23 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in an effort to deter people from gathering at what the board described as "destination" parks and beaches, like English Bay and Kits and Jericho beaches.
The park board is also reminding people to comply with parking signs, which remain in effect throughout the city.
For her part, Dr. Henry said she was encouraged by what she saw over the weekend, and argued the large number of warning is evidence people are being policed.
"I think the vast majority of people are doing the right thing and taking this to heart," she said Monday at her daily briefing. "And I thank them, because that’s how we’re going to get through this."