Metro Vancouver won’t be closing its parks — as long as people keep two metres apart and comply with other rules meant to stop the spread of COVID-19.
That means Belcarra Regional Park in Anmore, which includes Sasamat Lake, and Minnekhada Regional Park and Colony Farm regional parks in Coquitlam will stay open — for now.
“The majority of Metro Vancouver regional parks remain open because we understand that spending time in nature is a good way to reduce stress and take care of both your physical and mental health,” said Sav Dhaliwal, Metro Vancouver's board chair, in a press release Wednesday. “However, all visitors must respect the direction of the provincial health officer and practise physical distancing to mitigate the spread of the virus and prevent further restrictions at regional parks.”
So, while those beautiful trails and green spaces are open to provide a place of respite from COVID-19 worries, there is a caveat: They could be closed if the rules are not being followed.
“Metro Vancouver will continue to monitor and manage visitor behaviour in all of its parks, and will take the necessary action to protect public health and safety throughout the system. We are all in this together — everyone needs to do their part to flatten the COVID-19 curve,” said Anmore Mayor John McEwen, who is also the chair of Metro Vancouver’s regional parks committee.
However, one local park — Buntzen Lake, is closed, due to concerns about social distancing, according to BC Hydro.
Due to the high concentration of visitors on site and the need to enforce social distancing in response to the #COVID19 outbreak, our recreation area facilities are now closed. pic.twitter.com/qAsLGKUnDd— BC Hydro (@bchydro) March 23, 2020
Meanwhile, to visit Metro Vancouver parks, please follow these instructions:
• Maintain a distance of at least two metres from others, including in parking lots and trail entrances.
• Comply with closures of playgrounds, nature play areas and picnic shelters.
• Wash or sanitize hands frequently during the day and upon returning home from parks.
• Dispose of any tissues in designated garbage bins.
• And if you are sick, protect others by staying home and not visiting parks until you are well.
The reminder follows the full closure of Brae Island Regional Park in the Township of Langley and the closure of parking lots at Boundary Bay Regional Park, Deas Island Regional Park and Delta Heritage Airpark in Delta; both municipalities have declared a local state of emergency.
All other Metro Vancouver regional parks are currently open, though park facilities such as playgrounds, docks, rental facilities and picnic areas are closed. Metro Vancouver has increased staffing, parking lot traffic management and signage at regional parks.
Meanwhile, city parks and school fields are closed in the Tri-Cities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.