British Columbia

All B.C. provincial parks closed to help stop spread of COVID-19

With a sunny long weekend expected in many parts of the province, the B.C. government says the closures are neccessary to promote physical distancing.

Move made to promote physical distancing with a sunny long weekend in the forecast

Joffre Lakes Provincial Park is one of the most popular parks in B.C. All provincial parks in the have been closed effective immediately as part of the COVID-19 pandemic response. (Getty Images)

All provincial parks in B.C. are closing effective immediately in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The move was announced Wednesday morning by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy as part of the widespread effort to promote physical distancing. 

"This applies to British Columbians and out-of-province visitors who were planning to visit or stay at our provincial parks. The message is clear: Stay home, avoid travel, do not put yourself or others at risk," said Environment Minister George Heyman.

The timing of the decision is notable with a long weekend ahead and sunny weather forecast for much of the province.

The parks will be closed until further notice.

Heyman said closing the parks was a difficult but necessary decision because some people have been ignoring physical distancing orders and enforcement in wilderness settings is difficult.

"We tried to provide safe space for people to get some exercise and fresh air in our beautiful parks. But it has proven too challenging to maintain safe distance between visitors," he said.

Additionally, the ban on all camping in provincial parks has been extended to May 31 and people with bookings within that time frame can expect refunds.

If you have a COVID-19-related story we should pursue that affects British Columbians, please email us at impact@cbc.ca.  

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