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Coronavirus: Peace Arch Provincial Park to close again due to spike in visitors

Cross-border visits cut off at Peace Arch Park
Cross-border visits cut off at Peace Arch Park

The park in Surrey, B.C., that straddles that U.S./Canada border will close again on Thursday night because of a major spike in visitors under the COVID-19 pandemic.

Peace Arch Provincial Park has served as a popular meeting spot for loved ones who are separated by the border and have been unable to visit each other because of a ban on non-essential travel.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Couples separated by U.S.-Canada border finally embrace at Peace Arch Park

The area was closed on April 8 as the coronavirus spread around the world, and reopened on May 14 as cases began to dwindle in B.C.

B.C. government closing popular Peace Arch Park at Canada-U.S. border
B.C. government closing popular Peace Arch Park at Canada-U.S. border

“Since then, parking lots and local access roads have been overwhelmed with nearly twice the number of vehicles compared to peak days in the summer season, resulting in illegal parking,” a news release from the province said.

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“Attendance has doubled over the same period compared to last year, leading to an increase in pedestrians along roadways.”

Cross-border couple ties knot at Peace Arch Park
Cross-border couple ties knot at Peace Arch Park

 

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Posting more signs, increasing police enforcement patrols, installing a permanent gate at the entrance and reducing hours did little to ease the risk of a spike in COVID-19 cases, the province added

READ MORE: Questions raised by Canada U.S. land-border closures as citizens fly into the U.S.

“BC Parks understands the importance of unification for families and friends,” the release said.

“Through exemptions to the Federal Quarantine Act, the federal government is now allowing immediate family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents to enter Canada to be with an immediate family member for a period of at least 15 days, as long as they are asymptomatic of COVID-19 and self-isolate for 14 days on arrival.

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“The park will reopen when it is deemed safe to do so.”