The City of White Rock has temporarily closed its waterfront parking lots and parkade, effective today (March 23), as part of an effort to reduce the number of people visiting the city’s popular pier and promenade.
A tweet from the city explains the effort is to encourage social distancing and help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
— City of White Rock (@whiterockcity) March 22, 2020
The move comes after multiple complaints to the city – both directly and via social media – that the waterfront was drawing large crowds of people who, due to their numbers, could not maintain the recommended distance of two metres – or six feet – between them.
Parking on the north side of Marine Drive will be limited to 15 or 30 minutes maximum to allow visitors to order takeout food, a news release adds.
Asked Friday about whether the city would close off the waterfront entirely to visitors, Mayor Darryl Walker said that could be plan B.
Initially, he said, signage would be erected on the promenade, pier and Marine Drive to remind people of the correct practices to help minimize the spread of the virus. He noted that small restaurants and coffee shops operating on Marine Drive come under the purview of Fraser Health as far as health and safety regulations are concerned.
“We’ll also have bylaw officers down there talking to people about their responsibilities. We want to appeal to people’s common sense and better instincts,” Walker said.
On Friday, the city announced four playgrounds would be closed to the public, but that parks would remain open.