Weekend crowds mean beach parking lots will stay closed: park board

May 11 2020, 1:04 pm

Despite plans to reopen to the public this week, Vancouver’s park and beach lots will remain closed due to a noticeable reduction in physical distancing.

“This weekend our staff observed larger than normal groups of people at destination beaches, as well as a notable reduction in physical distancing,” said Shauna Wilton, deputy general manager of the park board, in a statement.

“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 neighbourhood spaces and refrain from driving to destination locations.

Park rangers have been monitoring beaches and parks for individuals breaking physical distancing rules. Over 11,079 warnings have been issued to groups not following the two-metre apart rule, with over 1,880 of those warnings being handed out this past weekend.

Vancouver beach and park lots have been closed since March 23. The closure applies for popular spots around the city including  Kits Beach, Jericho Beach, and English Bay.

Sizzling weekend temperatures brought crowds out to the city’s outdoor spaces.

Dr. Henry said that while people are welcome to enjoy the outdoors with those close to them (family members or small, physically distanced groups), she doesn’t want to see large groups congregating.

“I think most people are doing the right thing,” she said at her Saturday press conference. “What we see is a visible minority. But because they’re outside we do see them.”

She added we’re not yet safe from the coronavirus, and urged people to follow physical distancing guidelines to “protect all of us.”

“Outside the risk is lower, but it’s not zero if you’re having close contact with someone over a period of time,” she said, adding people gathering in groups could bring the virus home to the people who mean the most to them.