City of Vancouver closes most civic facilities amid coronavirus pandemic

Mar 16 2020, 12:51 pm

The City of Vancouver is closing most of its civic facilities and suspending recreational and social programs, officials announced Monday.

Mayor Kennedy Stewart also asked residents to think twice about going out to bars and restaurants.

“If you don’t think you can remain more than 1 metre away, then don’t go. Support our restaurants by ordering takeout or delivery,” he said.

Effective immediately, the following Park Board facilities will be closed:

  • Community centres
  • Pools
  • Fitness centres
  • Ice rinks
  • Golf courses

The city is offering refunds to those who have paid for Park Board activities.

All public libraries are closing as of 1:30 pm Monday as well. People with books out on loan can keep them, and late fees are being waived.

Other city attractions such as the Bloedel Conservatory, Van Dusen Botanical Gardens, and the Stanley Park Train, are closed too.

“For now our top priority must be to slow transmission and flatten the curve,” Stewart said.

Vancouver has not declared a state of emergency, but it’s something the city will not hesitate to do if needed, he added.

What’s open? 

Essential services like food, shelter, and hygiene programs will remain open.

The city’s 200 or so public parks are also open, and so are their public washrooms. While programs at sports fields are cancelled, the fields themselves remain open.

“Certainly the Seawall’s open, our parks are open,” Park Board general manager Malcolm Bromley said. “It’s a very nice time of the year. I encourage you to go outside with your family.”

Although physical libraries are closed, the city’s chief librarian, Christina de Castell, said staff will still be answering phone calls and emails. They’re happy to provide personalized reading lists, especially for children.

“This is a great time to check out the library’s virtual options,” she said, pointing to downloadable e-books and audiobooks.

With coronavirus on the rise, Health Canada is reminding individuals who attend events and large gatherings to monitor their health for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. And if you’re not feeling well, they recommend staying home at this time. Also, due to unexpected cancellations, please check the event you plan to attend is still taking place. Keep up with COVID-19 news here.