The City of Delta has added sport courts (including basketball courts), artificial turf fields and public picnic shelters to the list of civic facilities closed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The closures, effective immediately, were announced via the city’s social media channels on Monday, March 23, and also include the Delta Nature Reserve boardwalk and the stairs at Fred Gingell Park in Tsawwassen. Parks in Delta remain otherwise open.
On Tuesday, the city ordered all golf courses close as well.
The move expands on Mayor George Harvie’s order on Friday, March 20 to close all skate parks, bike parks and playground equipment in the city, including those on school grounds and in Metro Vancouver-operated parks, to prevent close contact between children using these facilities.
“These are extraordinary times that require extraordinary measures to keep our community safe. I thank the vast majority of residents who are staying home and practicing social distancing when they need to go out, but we need to do more to limit the spread of COVID-19, and this includes keeping our children and community safe by closing playground equipment, skate and bike parks,” Harvie said in a press release.
Delta bylaw inspectors have been out enforcing the provincial health officer’s orders for the last few days.
On Saturday, March 21, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry added personal service establishments — including salons, spas, massage parlours and tattoo parlours — to the list of businesses ordered to close in order to slow the spread of COVID-19.
A day earlier, Henry ordered all restaurants in B.C. to close their doors to dine-in guests and instead operate only through takeout or delivery services. Last week, she banned bars and nightclubs from operating until further notice, and put a ban on gatherings of more than 50 people.
On Saturday, the city announced that bylaw inspectors, acting under Delta’s local state of emergency, would be shutting down all local businesses found to be operating outside of Henry’s directives.
The city said inspectors will be “extremely proactive” in cases where businesses are unable to meet current social distancing requirements, including a visit this past Saturday to all local golf courses.
“We recognize the hardship this situation is having on local businesses and are actively advocating for measures to ease the financial burden on local businesses and commercial property owners during these difficult times. However, we must act on the direction of Dr. Henry to keep our community safe,” Mayor George Harvie said in a press release.
Delta declared a local state of emergency on Thursday, March 19, a move that gave Harvie additional powers to enforce the provincial health officer’s orders regarding business closures, limiting public gatherings and practicing social distancing.
That same day, Delta bylaw inspectors suspended the business licence of Bikram Yoga Delta on Scott Road after the owner refused to voluntarily cancel classes in light of the ongoing novel coronavirus outbreak.
Last week, the city closed all recreation centres, community centres, ice arenas, swimming pools, art centres, senior centres, city hall and the Delta Archives, and also had suspended seniors bus services.
The city also cancelled all spring break programs and, following the direction of the Provincial Health Officer and BC Centre for Disease Control, cancelled all non-essential events, including the Delta Triathlon, which scheduled to take place on Saturday, May 2 after a five-year hiatus, the city’s 2020 Spring Clean-Up and free compost week.
The city will use the closures to deep clean facilities and perform annual maintenance, as well as provide assistance to other departments requiring additional resources.
Acting under the local state of emergency, Mayor Harvie on Friday mandated local stores set aside time every day for seniors and others who are the most vulnerable to COVID-19 to shop separate from from the general public, and take steps to discourage overbuying of all goods and limit the quantity of “key items” that a single person may purchase in one day.
In addition to those made by the provincial health officer, city bylaw inspectors are also enforcing the mayor’s orders.
— with files from Ashley Wadhwani