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The city of Coquitlam is shutting down all sports courts, fields and skate parks until further notice in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Donnie Rosa, the general manager of parks, recreation and culture, said the closure became necessary after parks staff saw many people failing to comply with social distancing recommendations.
“We need everyone to act now,” Rosa said in an email. “Take the advice of the provincial health officer and maintain social distance. We need everyone to be on board in order to keep themselves and our community safe.”
For now, parks, trails and the Coquitlam Crunch will remain open. But residents should only go out with people from their own household and limit the group to two or three people, while also maintaining a minimum distance of two metres from anyone else.
Measures have also been put in place at Lafarge Lake and the Crunch to ensure unidirectional use of the trails in order to maintain social distancing, Rosa added. Previously, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody closed all public playgrounds as well as civic buildings, including city halls, arts centre, recreation and community centres.
Port Coquitlam has also closed its fields and sports courts. PoCo Mayor Brad West said staff would be out putting up signs and taping off areas immediately to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
“Some people are just not getting the message as we’ve observed overcrowding at our sports courts and fields, so we’ve had to make the decision to close them in the best interest and safety of our whole community,” West said. “I’m now asking all Port Coquitlam residents to take the advice being provided by health authorities seriously to keep themselves and others safe. This isn’t optional.”
If people do not adhere to the social distancing protocols, more closures could be necessary, said Kathleen Vincent, the Coquitlam’s manager of corporate communications.
“The city continues to look at what measures may be necessary to help reduce the spread of COVID-19,” Vincent said. “While no additional closure decisions have been made at this time, if we find that people are not following the advice of the provincial health officer or obeying city directives, we will adopt additional closures and enforcement measures.”
Enforcement is being stepped up, she added.
On Saturday, bylaw officers spread out across the city to ensure personal services, like salons, spas, massage parlours and tattoo shops, were complying with provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry’s order to close.
The city said in a statement that enforcement measures could also be taken against restaurants and dine-in services that were not adhering to the rules.
Read more of our COVID-19 coverage here.