Months after a tiny coastal village closed its public parks and community spaces, officials confirmed a COVID-19 exposure at Lions Bay Beach Park just outside of Vancouver. Back in March, the exclusive community said they didn't want visitors after seeing a huge spike. Public health authorities warn anyone who visited the park on certain dates to monitor themselves for symptoms.
Over three months ago on Wednesday, March 25, Lions Bay announced they've closed all their "beach parks, trails, and open spaces, including parking lots, playgrounds and public washrooms." However, public beaches and trails on Crown land stayed.*
The exclusive seaside town of roughly 1,300 reported that they'd been "struggling to comply" with limiting large gatherings of people. They'd reportedly seen a "sharp influx in groups of visitors coming to Lions Bay to recreate in our trails and tiny beach parks."
"As a result, we have no choice but to take all necessary steps to comply with the rules that have been implemented for the greater good of society," said Mayor Ron McLaughlin in a news release.
"Lions Bay is blessed with a scenic location on the shores of Howe Sound and is a welcoming community in normal times," read their press release.
The town is found along the Sea-To-Sky Highway, roughly 30 kilometres away from Vancouver.
The park lies near the centre of town, next to the marina, and is among the most popular beaches in the area.
Our community parks and facilities now closed to keep our community safe, until further notice!— @VillageOfLionsBay (@@VillageOfLionsBay)1585171812.0
According to the release, the beach park was closed — however, the beachfront stayed open to the public. Those who visited during the closure were threatened with "heavy fines"
In a statement to Narcity, Lions Bay clarified that parking recently opened up for hikers in town in time with the province's restart.
However, they said they kept parking for the affected park closed and had tried to keep visitors there at a minimum of 100.*
The exposure at the site is currently listed as "low risk" according to the BCCDC. There's also "no known risk" for people who visited the beach outside of those dates.
Given how "scenic" and "picturesque" the village is, perhaps visitors couldn't help themselves — even if the gates are closed.
*This article has been updated.