Many in Delta are social distancing and doing their part to self-isolate heeding the advice of provincial health officials, but many in the community still are defying those warnings.
Several posts on local social media sites this weekend are calling for stiffer measures from both municipal and provincial officials for a higher-level lockdown getting people indoors and out of parks, playgrounds, basketball courts and beaches.
On Sunday afternoon, around 1 p.m., the Optimist took a quick visit to Centennial Beach. There were maybe 30 to 40 people wandering around, but certainly not gatherings of any sorts, no volleyball games or other games going on.
On Saturday, one Optimist reporter observed a group of teens (10 to 12) playing a basketball game on the courts behind Burnsview Secondary in North Delta - clearly not following the guidelines around social distancing.
The Optimist reached out to the City of Delta Sunday for comment.
Mayor George Harvie said he was dissapointed to see some in the community not following the health guidelines.
"Our first priority on Saturday was to act on Bonnie Henry's advisory to close all salons etc., and we did that," said Harvie. "The state of local emergency declaration gives us the power to do that. Our police and fire are very challenged right now, and are also dealing with sickness, while doing their very best to maintain services. Using the bylaw officers, they are working seven days a week. We closed down all the playgrounds and all the parks along with Metro Vancouver.
"Yet we are still getting calls from people, so we will be enforcing those messages of the importance of social distancing. I will be putting a notice - a mayor's message - in your paper with regards to how dissapointed I am in people who are not getting the message."
Harvie said Delta had to close the take-out window at Pat Quinn's Restaurant, for example, because adults were congregating in the area - seniors - especially.
"There must have been 60 to 70 adults. We are allowing the golf courses to stay open, but there are not allowed to use power carts. They all have to walk and keep their social distancing," he said. The golf course today is pretty quiet. Am I dissapointed - you bet. We closed down the skateparks, and our bylaw officers were there to tell the youth how important this is. The police will and have been attending the calls that our bylaw officers are having trouble getting compliance."
In the meantime, Vancouver announced Sunday morning it is in the process of shutting down all of its outdoor recreation facilities in parks and beaches to help combat the spread of COVID-19.
The city’s parks board made the call after witnessing shameful scenes Saturday of thousands of people flocking to its beaches and parks in apparent defiance of public health officials’ pleas to avoid large gatherings and maintain a two-metre social distance.
The closure affects volleyball courts, tennis courts, skate parks and sports fields.
According to the board’s social media posts, park crews have also started taking down basketball hoops in Kitsilano Sunday morning.
— with a file from Richmond News