The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority is closing the Ogden Point Breakwater on Tuesday to encourage social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The indefinite closure will come into effect at 7 a.m. on March 24. There will be gates and signage at the upper walkway level to stop people walking in the area.
There will also be signs at the lower oceanfront level telling people to avoid the area.
The harbour authority said the decision comes after community members were “seen in close proximity and not adhering to the mandate by the provincial health officer to practice social distancing.”
The authority said while the Ogden Point Breakwater is wide enough for social distancing, it wasn’t being practiced by all visitors.
According to the BC Centre for Disease Control, to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, everyone needs to keep about two meters (six feet) or the length of a queen-sized bed from one another while outside their homes.
“We own and operate the Ogden Point Breakwater and it is one of the most high-profile community assets we steward,” Ian Robertson, CEO of the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority (GVHA) said in a statement.
“We typically see more than 450,000 people use the walkway each year. With the recent sunny weather, tied in with the impact of COVID-19, we unfortunately didn’t see those numbers slow down. While it is a difficult decision to close a space that Victorians love, this is in the best interest of our collective health and safety and our requirement to help flatten the curve.”
Maintenance on the breakwater will be reduced during the closure. The breakwater will be maintained for essential service only.
Maintenance on the Ogden Point Breakwater is a routine service by the GVHA with sweeps for garbage and safety being done several times each day. This will be reduced during this closure and the Breakwater will be maintained on an essential service only.
GVHA said it will continue to monitor their other public-facing properties such as the Inner Harbour Lower Causeway, Ship Point, and Fisherman’s Wharf.
At Fisherman’s Wharf, the ramp gate leading to the float homes has been closed and the three fingers where the float homes are situated are stanchioned off. Visitors to the food and beverage businesses that are offering take out services only are directed to the middle ramp for access.
Decisions on additional closures and operations changes will be made on a daily basis as the need arises, GVHA said.