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Chilliwack Mayor’s Statement re: COVID-19 and Playgrounds

Chilliwack – Chilliwack Mayor Ken Popove issued a statement on Thursday, expressing concern over the lack of social distancing when it comes to parents, kids and playgrounds. It’s a subject that Fraser Health will have to delve into more deeply, according to Popove.

Mayor’s Statement

March 19, 2020

We have heard repeatedly from our Prime Minister, Adrian Dix, Minister of Health and Dr. Bonnie Henry, BC’s provincial health officer that exercise is important during this difficult time. They have all encouraged us to get outdoors if we are healthy while adhering to social distancing guidelines.

Unfortunately, over the last few days, I have received reports of people not following social distancing guidelines while utilizing our outdoor spaces and playgrounds. Based on the information we have received about the importance of social distancing, this is very concerning. Exercise and enjoying the outdoors is important, but we need to do so in a safe manner.

One area of concern is playground equipment, especially at our larger play structures. Today, I spoke with Dr. Victoria Lee, President and CEO of Fraser Health, and asked for guidance and direction from Fraser Health regarding outdoor play structures and the potential spread of COVID-19. She assured me that they are currently researching the matter and will let me know when they have reached a scientific conclusion.

In the meantime, as we wait for clear direction from Fraser Health, I would like all parents to think carefully before letting their children join others at a playground. If the play structure looks busy, come back at a later time. If you are comfortable letting your children utilize playgrounds that are not busy, speak to them about social distancing in terms they understand. I also encourage you to speak to your teenagers about maintaining a safe space when they are with friends.

I know the measures put in place by BC’s provincial health officer are having a large impact on all of our daily lives. Hopefully, if we work together as a community we will not only contain the virus, but also help prevent any additional restrictive measures by the Province.

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