VICTORIA -- The Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD) is requesting that people who live outside the region stay away from local parks and trails for the time being due to COVID-19.

“We’re just saying that right now is not the right time to visit if you are from elsewhere,” said CVRD Board Chair Aaron Stone.

The move is in response to the provincial government’s decision Wednesday to close all B.C. parks to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and keep people home this long-weekend.

The board collectively agreed that keeping their parks open to local traffic only provides an essential opportunity for people to still enjoy the outdoors.

“We know how important our parks and trails are,” adds Stone. “We just want to maintain the limited capacity we have for the people that need it locally.”

Signage, reinforcing the importance of physical distancing, has been posted at most trail heads and parks throughout the CVRD.

Bylaw enforcement will also be actively monitoring these areas to ensure restriction are being met.

Other park facilities such as ball courts, skate parks and playgrounds in the district have been closed for over two weeks and will remain that way at this time.