The District of Saanich has decided to close down public playgrounds until further notice as COVID-19 spreads. (Black Press Media file photo)

UPDATED: Playgrounds across the South Island close as COVID-19 spreads

Saanich closure follows complaints that some park-users weren’t practicing social distancing

Playgrounds across the region have been temporarily closed to the public in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Effective March 20, all playgrounds in Saanich parks or at Saanich recreation facilities were closed to the public until further notice although parks, fields, trails, open spaces and public washrooms will remain open.

The municipality made the decision to close the playgrounds “in response to public concerns that some playground users are not practicing social distancing as directed by B.C.’s provincial health officer,” explained Megan Catalano, information officer for the Saanich Emergency Operations Centre, in a written statement.

READ ALSO: Mayor encourages residents to take advantage of Saanich trails amid COVID-19

Social distancing includes remaining at least two metres – about the length of a queen-sized bed – away from others while out of the home even if you’re not ill, Catalano said.

Social distancing can be practiced by limiting outdoor activities, avoiding large social gatherings and practicing proper cough etiquette and handwashing. Saanich is asking parents to explain social distancing to their children and enforce the guidelines.

All playgrounds in the Capital Regional District and in the Town of Sidney have also been closed for the foreseeable future, though public parks remain open. The City of Victoria announced its decision to close playgrounds Friday afternoon. Signage will be installed at Victoria’s 40 playgrounds. Public washrooms in parks remain open with increased cleaning.

Colwood also announced that its playground structures in city parks will be closed. The City says playground structures and picnic tables cannot be effectively cleaned after each use. Structures at Colwood Creek Park, Ocean View Park, Herm Williams Park, Pelican Drive and Coleman Place will be closed.

READ ALSO: Saanich amps up COVID-19 precautions, closes all major facilities to the public

On March 21, the City of Langford and the Greater Victoria School District also made the decision to close their playgrounds to protect residents and minimize the spread of the virus. Municipal parks and trails will remain open and residents are asked to maintain a safe distance from one another.

Families are still encouraged to enjoy the parks and trails throughout the region while avoiding groups and maintaining a safe social distance. Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes is inviting residents to get outside and enjoy the spring weather from a safe distance in the District’s many parks that feature open spaces and trails.

Haynes himself marked the first day of spring – March 19 – with a walk in Saanich’s Brydon Park with his seven-year-old labradoodle Beowolf.

Visit saanich.ca/COVID-19 for up to date information about how Saanich is managing the COVID-19 outbreak.

–With files from Sarah Schuchard.


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Mysterious Brazilian honey barrel appears at Saanich intersection

Barrel spotted on West Saanich Road part of intersection construction project, district says

Lost dog reunited with family three months after going missing along Juan de Fuca trail

‘The poor thing was skin and bones,’ says one of the Sooke rescuers

Victoria family donates 878 falafel wraps to support Beirut blast victims

Wrap and Roll pulls in $20,500 during weekend fundraiser

Reimagined campaign continues to make Vancouver Island wishes come true

#UnWinedOutside allows participants to support Make-A-Wish Foundation, local businesses

STANDING TALL: For some, B.C.’s forest industry is the best office in the world

A look at the forest sector in B.C. – and those hoping for the best – amid mill curtailments

Bad behaviour at B.C. restaurants ignites campaign calling for respect

“If you can’t follow the rules, then stay home,” says BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association

Addition pending to Cape Scott Provincial Park?

BC Parks will wait before announcing plans for nearly $1 million old growth land purchase

Over half of Americans oppose Trump tariff on Canadian aluminum: survey

The survey was conducted Aug. 7 to 9 among 1,513 Canadians and 1,003 Americans

Oh baby, what a birthday gift: $2.8M raised to help B.C. boy with rare disease

‘We are very thankful to everybody,’ Aryan Deol’s father says

‘Huckleberry’ the bear killed after B.C. residents admit to leaving garbage out for videos

North Shore Black Bear Society said it was local residents who created a ‘death sentence’ for bear

Police investigating after insults, expletives yelled at federal minister’s staff

A 90-second video circulating on social media appears to have been shot by the person who was yelling

Central Vancouver Island’s Green Mountain fire under full control

Fire fighters still monitoring site between Cowichan Lake and Nanaimo River

5 B.C. First Nations call out Canada for ‘discriminatory’ food fish practices

West Coast nations say government ignoring court-won right to chinook and coho

Most Read