The B.C. government is suspending pay parking at hospitals and other health facilities amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Parking will be free for patients, staff and visitors at all sites owned and operated by health authorities until further notice, starting Wednesday.
“The change makes it easier for individuals to avoid touching screens and buttons at payment kiosks that may have been touched by someone previously and also supports physical-distancing measures that have been mandated by our provincial health officer,” Health Minister Adrian Dix said at a news conference on Monday.
The BC Nurses’ Union has reported that several nurses had come off a shift to find a parking tickets on their vehicle, after they worked extra hours and the meter ran out. President Christine Sorensen has said most of the tickets have since been cancelled.
On Monday, Port Coquitlam Mayor Brad West posted on Twitter a letter he’d written to the province about similar reports of health-care workers being ticketed while on duty, and asked for paid parking at hospitals to be suspended.
An online petition for the cause had also gained more 2,700 signatures as of Sunday afternoon.
British Columbia confirmed 86 new cases of the novel coronavirus since Saturday, bringing the provincial total to 970.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said two more people had died, bringing the total to 19 fatalities.
— With files from Sean Boynton and Simon Little