City of Parksville has closed down all of its playgrounds effective immediately. (File photo)

Saanich, Parksville say playgrounds off-limits due to COVID-19 concerns

Move follows directive from provincial health officer, concerns about social distancing

Children in Parksville and Saanich who enjoy their community playgrounds will have to find other ways to pass the time.

Effective immediately and until further notice, all playgrounds in these two Island communities are closed.

In a press release, Parksville officials said they decided to take this ‘drastic’ move to help stop the spread of COVID-19, protect residents and encourage social distancing the community.

Similarly, Saanich made the decision to close the playgrounds “in response to public concerns that some playground users are not practicing social distancing as directed by B.C.’s provincial health officer,” explained Megan Catalano, information officer for the Saanich Emergency Operations Centre, in a written statement.

The Town of Qualicum Beach is not currently closing down any of its playgrounds but it continues to advise people to be extremely cautious on being in places where the virus can spread and to avoid them.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry recently issued clear directives that parents should not be taking their children to playgrounds, as health officials continue to emphasize the importance of social distancing to curb the spread of COVID-19.

READ MORE: COVID-19: Keeping their distance will help keep your kids healthy

READ MORE: Comprehensive coronavirus coverage here

“If there is a group of kids all mingling together on a playground that’s not what we need right now,” said Henry. “We need it to be in a controlled environment. Parents should not be letting children go and have playdates and go to playgrounds with other groups of children, because we know that they can transmit this virus and then they bring it home to you and they bring it home to your family.”

Parksville’s press release noted “the City of Parksville wish the public to know the decision was not made lightly as it knows children want to get out and play. Parents are advised to consider creating other family outdoor adventures that will keep you everyone safe and limit exposure to the virus. Appropriate signage will be posted at playgrounds as soon as possible.”

Social distancing includes remaining at least two metres – about the length of a queen-sized bed – away from others while out of the home even if you’re not ill, Catalano said.

Social distancing can be practiced by limiting outdoor activities, avoiding large social gatherings and practicing proper cough etiquette and handwashing. Saanich is asking parents to explain social distancing to their children and enforce the guidelines.

Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes is encouraging residents to get outside and enjoy the spring weather from a safe distance in the District’s many parks that feature open spaces and trails.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

 

CoronavirusParksvillequalicum beach

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

View Royal teen inspired by pandemic creates thermal camera from scratch

14-year-old plans to make 10 touchless hand sanitizers for schools

‘I’ve fallen through the cracks’: Victoria woman calls herself new face of homelessness

Tonya Alton has had to move almost ten times since a ‘wrongful eviction’ in March

20-storey hotel proposed for downtown Victoria

Wintergarden Hotel proposed for block of Blanshard Street between Fort and View streets

UPDATED: Young deckhands backed out of fatal Arctic Fox II trip just before fishboat departed

Inexperienced twin brothers had ‘gut feeling’ and bailed before going to open ocean

Police investigating alleged assault on Oak Bay Avenue

Staff at Oak Bay Home Hardware say one person was taken to hospital

B.C. records new COVID-19 death, 85 more cases; Horgan calls on celebrity help

This brings the total number of active confirmed cases to 531 across the province

Horvat scores 2 as Vancouver Canucks beat Blues 5-2 in NHL playoff opener

Game 2 in best-of-seven series goes Friday night

Old-growth forest defenders in Campbell River call for B.C. forest minister’s resignation

Protestors outside North Island MLA’s office ask government to stop old-growth logging

Teachers to get 2 extra days to prepare for students’ return, now set for Sept. 10

Students will first start with orientation and learn rules of COVID-19 classroom policies

High-volume littering at Cape Scott draws ire from hiking groups

Popular Vancouver Island hiking spot not closing, but frustration about crowding grows

SFU to drop ‘Clan’ varsity team name

The ‘Clan’ name is shortened from ‘Clansmen,’ and was introduced roughly 55 years ago

New Tory leader must build a strong team in Commons and for the campaign: Scheer

Scheer marked his final day in the House of Commons today as leader of the Opposition

B.C. to hire 500 more COVID-19 contact tracers ahead of fall

Contract tracers add an ‘extra layer’ in the fight against the novel coronavirus

Feds commit $305M in additional funds for Indigenous communities during COVID-19

Money can be used to battle food insecurity and support children and mental health

Most Read