In an update Monday on the City of Surrey’s position on tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, Mayor Doug McCallum said the municipal government’s playgrounds, skateparks, and sports courts are now closed.
This is on top of the closures of ice rinks, swimming pools, community centres, libraries, and the civic museum. Public parks and beaches in the city remain open, but all users are required to follow the proper physical distancing practice of two metres or six feet.
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Additionally, the City of Surrey is now discouraging indoor and outdoor gatherings of over 10 people.
This goes a step further than the provincial government’s ban on gatherings of more than 50 people and generally aligns with the City of Vancouver’s call for the public to spend time outdoors either by themselves or with members of their own household.
Considering Surrey is the second largest municipal jurisdiction in Metro Vancouver when it comes to population, it plays a key role in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
McCallum’s comments follow days of documented irresponsible behaviour on social media, where residents in large congregations were seen flocking to the region’s beaches and parks, and in some cases there were even large house parties.
— Jay Tee (@thakorine) March 20, 2020
“Unfortunately, there are still individuals who are willfully ignoring the orders and measures issued by the Provincial Health Officer, such as gathering in large groups both in public spaces or at home,” said McCallum in a statement.
“The time has long passed to be cavalier about COVID-19. As we hear daily, the gravity of the situation is severe. No one has a cloak of invincibility against the virus. To the few who are defying the Provincial Health Officer’s orders, advice, and measures, I implore you to stop. Carrying on with this kind of behaviour is selfish, and you are risking the health and well-being of your family, friends, and everyone in our community.”
The Mayor added that the municipal government is in the final process of creating enforcement measures and penalties for those who continue to violate the orders and measures by both the provincial and municipal governments.
Earlier today, the City of Vancouver approved new enforcement measures that allow individuals to be fined up to $1,000 if they fail to obey social distancing rules and businesses up to $50,000 for failing to comply with various orders and forced closures.