The pandemic has led to the closure of a number of public recreation facilities and playgrounds around Vancouver. As a result, it seems like people are starting to find new and unusual places to hangout outdoors. A Vancouver cemetery is telling the public to be mindful of using their park as a recreational playground, as a number of locals have been spotted riding bikes, playing catch, and walking their dogs around the gravesites. 

We all know that some Vancouverites had initial troubles adjusting to the social distancing memo, even though most figured it out eventually. 

Now it seems as though they're resorting to some unusual locations to continue socializing and getting physical exercise. 

The Mountain View Cemetery has experienced an influx of people in recent weeks who've been hanging out in the cemetery. 

They've been spotted doing recreational activities in the area like riding bikes and scooters, running around, playing catch, and walking their dogs.

Narcity spoke to the cemetery manager Glenn Hodges, who shared how the park's seen a dramatic uptick in visitors and why that's been having a detrimental effect on funeral services. 

"In the last couple of weeks, now that everybody is staying at home and the kids aren't in school, there's been a dramatic increase in the amount of leisure and recreational activity," he said. 

He told us that nice weather may have played a part in getting people out of their homes and into the cemetery.

The number of people coming into the cemetery has raised major safety concerns. Hodges said that people hanging out in the cemetery can impede the movement of equipment.

The cemetery has tight corners and low visibility spots, so the kids and adults hanging about aren't often aware of the potential danger caused by their activities.

He shared that the core purpose of a cemetery is to help those grieving remember and honour their loved ones and so the constant buzz of activity affects that purpose. 

"When the families are showing up to visit gravesites or memorial services, the visual image of all these people and cars and dogs and bikes was just starting to take away from the atmosphere," Hodges said. 

People are walking on the roads where the staff regularly move their equipment and machinery.

"We've got electric vehicles, which are quiet so they don't know there's a vehicle behind them. Or they're talking on the phone, or they've got headphones," he stated. 

So the staff are constantly having to alert people to move and get out of their way. Some equipment used by the grounds crew, such as string trimmers, often spit out rocks and debris out into the air.

This is a safety hazard for all the visitors in the park. Hodges said, "In normal situations, the staff can be aware of that but the volume of people in the last two weeks has been overwhelming."

He's revealed that family members of the deceased have raised concerns to him over this issue. 

In addition to cycling, bike-riding, and just running in general, a lot of residents have been using the cemetery as a dog park. 

He's said that there are many graves in the cemetery that are not marked by headstones. Since the surface is covered by grass anyway, a number of dogs, both on and off-leash, have been going to the bathroom on the graves. 

Hodges also shared a recent anecdote of how a little kid in a scooter came very close to obstructing an internment service on the grounds. 

The situation has gotten so bad that the cemetery has had to put up signs to urge visitors to be mindful of what they're doing in the cemetery. 

At the moment, those are only measures they're taking in order to ward off visitors. When asked what sort of message he'd like to issue to the public in relation to this problem, he said, "You have a choice to do this activity. Choose to do this somewhere else." 

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