Island municipalities close playgrounds, parks amid COVID-19 pandemic

Island municipalities close playgrounds, parks amid COVID-19 pandemic
City of Nanaimo has closed all playgrounds amid COVID-19 pandemic.

Countless municipalities across Vancouver Island are closing their playgrounds in a bid to contain the coronavirus.

The City of Victoria, City of Langford, City of Colwood, City of Duncan, City of Courtenay, District of Saanich, District of Lantzville, Township of Esquimalt and Town of Sidney are among a growing list of communities across Vancouver Island that have closed its playgrounds due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The City of Victoria has also closed all public outdoor recreation facilities in Victoria parks.

These include Skate and bike parks, basketball & tennis courts, sports fields, outdoor gyms.

The City of Courtneay says playgrounds are an easy place to transmit the virus.

“We know from the health experts, and our governments has been saying that playgrounds really have surfaces that can harbor these viruses longer than other surfaces,” said Courtenay Mayor Bob Wells.

“We already know that these are places where kids. So really having them practice things like wiping their nose or coughing [into their arms] those kinds of things are really unrealistic so we are trying to get the biggest bang for our buck while we can.”

The City of Nanaimo has also banned access to its playgrounds following public backlash after the municipality initially said it would continue to allow access to playgrounds, provided people practice responsible social distancing.

“We have been learning and trying our best to respond to these unprecedented times. In this case, we were attempting to keep our playgrounds safe for use. However, we have heard you and your concerns, and have now closed our playgrounds for public use. We apologize for any angst this caused,” Jake Rudolph, City of Nanaimo’s chief administrative officer, said in a press release issued yesterday evening.

Meanwhile, the District of Sooke and the City of Port Alberni have not formally banned access to their playgrounds but have instead “discouraged” people from using them at the moment, according to both their websites.

Some municipalities, including the Municipality of North Cowichan and Town of Sidney, have also restricted access to their skate parks in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19.


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