Packed hiking trails and house parties as people ignore physical distancing


Physical distancing while trying to stay active is a message some people don’t seem to be getting on Vancouver Island.

From people packed together on Victoria’s Gonzales Beach Sunday to full parking lots at Gowlland Tod Provincial Park in the Highlands as hordes of hikers took to the narrow trails, safe social distancing isn’t being followed.

“What are all these hundreds and hundreds of people doing coming out hiking?” says concerned Highlands resident Joe Kadar. “And I think it’s just a breeding ground for spreading the virus and I think these people are selfish and I don’t think they get it.”

The lack of physical distancing even led to a heated confrontation at Saanich’s Mount Doug Park.

And for the second weekend in a row, the Victoria Police Department had to break up multiple house parties and group gatherings.

“It’s disappointing to see that although the message is getting through to most people, there’ still a considerable amount of people are who choosing to ignore the social isolation and social distancing that we all need to be a part of,” says Chief Del Manak. “They’re putting everyone else, and our officers at risk.”

So why aren’t people following the rules?

A new Angus Reid survey says one in eight Canadians think the coronavirus outbreak is “overblown” and that’s having a big impact on the precautions they take to flatten the curve.

Only two thirds of those taking a more cavalier approach are keeping extra personal distance — compared to 89 per cent of those taking the pandemic seriously.

It’s a similar breakdown when it comes to not shaking hands and hugging (66 per cent to 87 per cent).

And the gap is even bigger — 60 per cent to 84 per cent — when it comes to staying away from public spaces.

People who continue to gather in groups or not social distance can face fines.

Joe Kadar is calling for any parks with narrow trails to be closed down and urging people to find somewhere to exercise that’s not congested.

“Bear down, suck it up and do your part and I don’t think all these people are doing their part,” Kadar says.

He just hopes people get the message before it’s too late.

Tess van StraatenTess van Straaten

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