Spring may be here, but P.E.I. officials warn walkers to maintain COVID-19 physical distancing

With the weather warming up, many Islanders might be heading outside to enjoy it, but P.E.I.'s chief public health officer Dr. Heather Morrison, and the mayor of Charlottetown are reminding people to keep their distance.

Police to ramp up monitoring in Victoria Park

'But the focus here is that if you live in Sherwood, if you live in Winsloe, stay in your own neighbourhood, practise physical distance,' says Charlottetown Mayor Philip Brown. (Travis Kingdon/CBC)

Spring may have finally arrived on P.E.I., but health officials are reminding Islanders to keep their distance if they head outside. 

"When you do go outside for a walk with members of your household make sure you are practising physical distancing if you come across others," said Dr. Heather Morrison, P.E.I.'s chief public health officer.

She said she heard about a lot of Islanders out on the weekend enjoying time in parks and on trails, but not keeping two metres away from others. 

"I understand there were really too many people gathering all together and not really respecting that physical distancing," she said. 

Morrison said her office is keeping an eye on the situation and may have to bring in stricter measures.

If you live in Sherwood, if you live in Winsloe, stay in your own neighbourhood, practise physical distance.— Charlottetown Mayor Philip Brown

"Whether it's limiting access, and I'm not sure we want to do that, but trying to control some of the number of people that are gathering in close proximity," she said. 

One of the places that Islanders have been heading to enjoy the weather is Victoria Park in Charlottetown.

'Stay in your own neighbourhood'

Mayor Philip Brown said when he was out this weekend, he saw some Islanders abiding by the physical distancing rules, but others were not. 

 "Victoria Park is a beautiful place to go and stroll and just take in the beauty of Charlottetown," he said. 

"But the focus here is that if you live in Sherwood, if you live in Winsloe, stay in your own neighbourhood, practise physical distance," he said. He noted there are many green spaces outside the city's core for people to exercise.

A runner and walker keep their distance from each other on the Charlottetown boardwalk March 26. (Brian McInnis/CBC)

The inside lane around Victoria Park was closed to vehicle traffic on April 1, to allow more room for people walking to keep their distance.

But Brown said it's not an invitation to everyone to use the park — in fact, it's the opposite.

"The purpose of opening up that inside laneway was to provide more space between users at Victoria Park, not to open the floodgates to say, 'come on down.'"

"If you're in the area, yes, do your exercise, physical, mental wellness exercise, and then go back home because if we're going to get through this, we have to follow the protocols that were set up by Dr. Morrison's office."

It's to get those trails up and operational so residents in different parts of the city can get out.— Charlottetown Mayor Philip Brown

Brown said he's had discussions with the Municipal Emergency Measures Organization about how to best tell Islanders about the importance of physical distancing.

He also said police will be ramping up monitoring of Victoria Park to make sure people are keeping a safe distance from others.

Brown said city staff are working to get trails in the city open so that everyone can safely enjoy the weather. 

"Their plan is to get some of the crews back on, but again we have to be following the protocols dictated by the chief medical officer," said Brown. 

"It's to get those trails up and operational so residents in different parts of the city can get out for their physical and mental wellness exercises."

COVID-19: What you need to know

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Common symptoms include:

  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Tiredness.

But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia, which can lead to death.

Health Canada has built a self-assessment tool.

What should I do if I feel sick?

Isolate yourself and call 811. Do not visit an emergency room or urgent care centre to get tested. A health professional at 811 will give you advice and instructions.

How can I protect myself?

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

  • Clean regularly touched surfaces regularly.

  • Practise physical distancing.

More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.

More COVID-19 stories from CBC P.E.I.


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