Several Vancouver Island parks closed to stop spread of COVID-19
China Beach is one of several areas ordered closed effective immediately. (Karen Fedora)
VICTORIA -- The B.C. government has ordered the temporary closure of several provincial parks on Vancouver Island due to concerns that large crowds of people are risking the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Juan de Fuca Provincial Park – including the popular Botanical, China and Sombrio beaches – has been ordered closed effective immediately, as have Goldstream Provincial Park, Maquinna Marine Provincial Park, Spectacle Lake Provincial Park, French Beach Provincial Park and Goldstream Provincial Park.
Other island parks, including Gowlland Tod Provincial Park, have been partially closed to visitors amid the ongoing pandemic.
The province says park-goers and local authorities have raised concerns that people visiting the parks have not been adhering to the social distancing protocols laid out by the province to stem the spread of COVID-19.
“The mental and physical wellness benefit of being outside during the COVID-19 pandemic response is important, but keeping people safe right now is the most important thing we can be doing,” B.C. Environment Minister George Heyman said in a statement.
“Until we flatten the transmission curve of COVID-19 and people strictly comply with the physical distancing requirement, provincial park access will be restricted.”
BC Parks says all parks campgrounds and accommodations will be closed until at least April 30.
The park service says full refunds will be issued to reservation holders.
Meanwhile, the City of Colwood has announced the temporary closure of Ocean Boulevard between Fort Rodd Hill and Lagoon Road beginning Wednesday, March 25.
The city says the closure of the area around Esquimalt Lagoon and Royal Beach is meant to limit gatherings in the area.
A full list of provincial parks closed due to the novel coronavirus outbreak in B.C. is available here.