Playgrounds in the Tri-Cities are set to re-open June 1.
In a joint press release, the cities of Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody, along with the villages of Anmore and Belcarra, said they have begun coordinating plans to re-open in time for the planned resumption of schools next week. The move comes more than two months after facilities were shut down during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and 10 days into the second phase of B.C.'s Restart Plan.
"As children return to school, it will be important for them to be able to play outside to stay healthy and active," said School District 43 superintendent Patricia Gartland. "All schools across the district will comply with health orders, such as washing hands before and after play to ensure playgrounds are a safe place for students."
Even though facilities are starting to re-open, public health officials are still stressing the importance of taking precautions to limit the transmission of COVID-19.
Playground users should avoid large groups and gatherings and be at least two metres away from people from another household. People should wash their hands before and after using the equipment, cover all coughs and sneezes and avoid touching their face.
Anyone who is feeling sick or exhibiting any symptoms must stay home.
Bylaw enforcement and park hosts will be on hand to monitor some locations and ensure that physical distancing protocols are being maintained, the cities said in the release.
“As a parent of a young child, I can tell you kids and families in our community are going to be thrilled to use playgrounds again,” Port Coquitlam Mayor Brad West said. “However, as we reopen more amenities, it’s very important that we all do our part and use them responsibly, so that we can keep them open for everyone to enjoy.”
It is not just playgrounds that will be re-opening.
Coquitlam is opening up the last few sports courts that remained closed in the first phase of the pandemic, while Port Coquitlam will re-open picnic shelters and outdoor fitness equipment at Gates Park and along the Traboulay Poco Trail.
In Port Moody, basketball and sports courts and the Westwhill Park lacrosse box are also expected to re-open next week.
“This is what co-operation between neighbouring cities looks like,” said Port Moody Mayor Rob Vagramov. “A return to life without restrictions depends on how these initial steps play out, so remember to keep two metres away from others.”
For more information about how each city is handling the re-opening of facilities and the second phase of B.C.’s Restart Plan visit coquitlam.ca/covid19 for Coquitlam, portcoquitlam.ca/covid19 for Port Coquitlam and portmoody.ca/covid19 for Port Moody.