At a time where the COVID-19 pandemic means staying at home is a must, this year's first weekend of spring in Vancouver looked like any other. Everyone wants to enjoy the warm, sunny weather, but hitting the parks and beaches en masse during a public health emergency is a bad idea. Social distancing in Vancouver isn't quite perfect yet because the parks and beaches were packed with people.
On Saturday, March 21, some of Vancouver's beaches looked like a scene from Spring Breakers. That's a big problem, especially with officials warning that social distancing is the best way to stay safe from COVID-19.
Since the start of the pandemic, health officials practically begged locals to stay indoors, or at least to stay isolated.
B.C. even declared a public health emergency and shut down restaurants and bars that weren't able to isolate patrons.
Twitter and Reddit users took to social media, posting photos of people out in the sun or gathering in large groups, and called them out for their social distancing faux pas.
Although the Vancouver Park Board installed signs on the beaches warning beachgoers to stay two metres apart, some still gathered in close proximity to one another.
"People not in self-isolation do not need to remain indoors. However, everyone needs to avoid being in close contact with people in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19," said the Vancouver Park Board in a release shared with Narcity.
Current situation near First Beach along English Bay in Vancouver. This is NOT #socialdistancing #COVID19BC… https://t.co/Nnq5m3MiwX— Trevor Hagan (@Trevor Hagan) 1584838604.0
While you're allowed to step outside for a walk by yourself or with the people you live with, gathering in groups is a big no-no, said Dr. Bonnie Henry, Chief Medical Officer of B.C.
"We're not to be outside in groups. We're not to be out playing basketball. We're not to be outside in large groups sitting on the beach, watching the beautiful sunsets," she said during a press conference.
Park Board closes playgrounds, reminds community to adhere to social distancing: https://t.co/3X5bFgfqI5 #Vancouver… https://t.co/jfpVwyaOLE— Vancouver Park Board (@Vancouver Park Board) 1584744027.0
Although B.C. heavily encourages social distancing, there are no direct rules enforcing it. In contrast, Ontario is issuing fines up to $1,000 people who don't keep their distance.
Here are the people of Vancouver, engaging in social distancing on Kitsilano Beach yesterday afternoon, after mayor… https://t.co/12fMkctYlc— Ian Young (@Ian Young) 1584646714.0
While there is no official enforcement just yet, the province is responding quickly to the pandemic.
Recently, B.C. announced that residents won't get evicted if they aren't able to afford rent during the crisis.