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Nearly 1,900 warnings issued over lack of social distancing at Vancouver parks, beaches

Thousands of warning tickets issued for park crowding
The sunny weather brought huge crowds to parks and beaches, along with thousands of warnings to keep a safe distance from each other. Aaron MacArthur reports.

Park rangers in Vancouver issued nearly 1,900 warnings about physical distancing last weekend, following the release a few days earlier of the province’s plan to reopen the economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Groups of up to 20 people were spotted lounging in False Creek’s David Lam Park and Kitsilano Beach on Saturday, despite there being no change to health officials’ directives to keep two metres apart when out in public to slow the spread of the virus.

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As a result, the park board said Monday it will delay plans to reopen parking lots at beaches and parks.

‘Few faces in big spaces’: Dr. Bonnie Henry on B.C.’s restart plan and slowly moving into phase two
‘Few faces in big spaces’: Dr. Bonnie Henry on B.C.’s restart plan and slowly moving into phase two

Park board lots were closed on March 23 in a bid to reduce large gatherings of people.

“While we echo Dr. Bonnie Henry’s advice to get outside, we need to ensure the public is able to do so safely and we want to remind people to access their neighbourhood spaces and refrain from driving to destination locations,” deputy general manager Shauna Wilton said in a statement.

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Wilton was referring to one of the provincial health officer’s new phrases, “few faces in big spaces,” repeated during last week’s announcement of plans to gradually ease social-distancing requirements after the May long weekend.

Vancouver council to vote on possible road closures to enhance physical distancing
Vancouver council to vote on possible road closures to enhance physical distancing

All told, rangers have issued more than 11,000 warnings to groups not complying with physical-distancing guidelines.

– With files from Simon Little