British Columbia

Get kids outside but avoid crowded playgrounds, B.C.'s top doctor urges parents

B.C.'s top doctor Dr. Bonnie Henry issued clear directives that parents should not be taking their children to playgrounds, as health officials continue to emphasize the importance of social distancing to curb the spread of COVID-19.

'Go for a walk with your children ... but don't have a playdate,' B.C.'s top doctor said Thursday

'Parents should not be letting children go and have playdates and go on to playgrounds with other groups of children because we know that can transmit this virus,' Henry said in Thursday's media briefing. (Nicole Oud/CBC )

B.C.'s top doctor Dr. Bonnie Henry issued clear directives that parents should not be taking their children to playgrounds, as health officials continue to emphasize the importance of social distancing to curb the spread of COVID-19.

"If there is a group of kids all mingling together on a playground that's not what we need right now. We need it to be in a controlled environment," Henry said at a daily news conference on Thursday.

"Parents should not be letting children go and have playdates and go to playgrounds with other groups of children, because we know that they can transmit this virus and then they bring it home to you and they bring it home to your family."

Children are not an at-risk group for the virus, but the role they play in spreading it to other, more vulnerable people is not yet fully understood.

B.C. has instituted a ban on all gatherings of more than 50 people, and anyone returning to Canada from international travel has been ordered to self-isolate for 14 days.

The public has been urged to social distance by avoiding large gatherings and keeping two metres from one another where possible.

However Henry has encouraged people to continue spending time outside, while keeping an appropriate amount of space between each other.

"It is important to get outside a little bit now and then, and to make sure that you get some exercise, you get some fresh air. I think that is important for all of our mental and physical health," she said.

"Go for a walk with your children, go to the park with your children, but don't have a playdate." 

The B.C. government announced Tuesday all schools would be shutting their doors indefinitely due to COVID-19 concerns, while daycares are allowed to stay open.

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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