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Park Board launches Champions program to support physical distancing in parks, on beaches

Public safety is the highest priority of the Park Board and the public is being urged to adhere to the directives of staying 2 metres apart.

Camil Dumont, Chair of the Vancouver Park Board

April 4 2020 –

The Vancouver Park Board is introducing a new public awareness campaign about the importance of physical distancing in Vancouver’s busiest beach, seawall, and park locations.

Program starts Saturday, April 4

The Park Board Champions program begins Saturday, April 4 with approximately 25 recreation staff dressed in highly visible bright green vests safely engaging with members of the public.

Their aim is to make residents aware of the physical distancing directives and to provide education about public etiquette and the courteous use of shared outdoor spaces.

1,400+ warnings given to park and beach users

The Champions’ work complements the vital, ongoing role Park Rangers play in physical distancing enforcement during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic.

To date, Park Rangers have issued more than 1,400 warnings to park and beach users not following the Provincial Health Officer’s directive to keep at least 2 metres (6 feet) away from others who are not from the same household.

In addition to the work being done by the Rangers, the Champions can be deployed in larger numbers to the busiest locations in the city to spread awareness of safe behaviour.

Protect yourself and others

Vancouver is among cities with the densest neighbourhood populations in Canada, and residents rely on park spaces for fresh air, much like a backyard. But it is paramount that everyone shares the spaces and uses them safely.

  • Always maintain a safe physical distance of a least 2 metres (6 feet). 
  • Use parks and beaches for a short break to exercise, not to socialize.
  • Visit during less busy times (mornings, late evenings, or when it’s cloudy or damp outside).
  • Access neighbourhood or community parks and do not drive to destination parks or beaches.
  • Keep dogs on leash when walking, unless using an official, open off-leash park.
  • Don't touch shared surfaces and be vigilant about hand-washing.
  • Stay home if you’re sick, especially if feeling cold or flu-like symptoms.

For more information about the Park Board’s response to the pandemic, visit vancouver.ca/covid19

Quotes

Vancouver Park Board Chair Camil Dumont

“Vancouver’s beaches and parks remain open, though their parking lots have been closed to prevent large groups of people from gathering,” said Camil Dumont, Chair of the Vancouver Park Board.

“We recognize the important role outdoor spaces play in people’s overall health and wellness, particularly mental health. However, public safety is the highest priority of the Park Board and the public is being urged to adhere to the directives of staying 2 metres apart.”