All of BC’s provincial parks are temporarily being closed to help make sure people are physically distancing to stop the spread of COVID-19.

The BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy says the closure of “all provincial parks is a response to a widespread call for increased action to address COVID-19.”

The decision to close the parks followed feedback from the RCMP, local governments, First Nations, search-and-rescue organizations and the public.

Minister Bill Heyman says “because physical distancing works, it is critical that we take every action needed to restrict the spread of COVID-19.”

Heyman says “the message is clear: stay home, avoid travel, do not put yourself or others at risk.”

He says it was a difficult but necessary decision.

Heyman says they tried to provide safe space for people to get some exercise and fresh air, but it has proven too challenging to maintain a safe distance between visitors.

The ministry says while many people are observing physical distancing requirements set by the provincial health officer, some continue to ignore the order, making enforcement in a wilderness setting challenging.

The Recreation Sites and Trails BC branch of the forests ministry has already also closed its campgrounds and amenities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.