Delta is closing all playgrounds to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
This morning (Friday, March 20), Mayor George Harvie ordered all playgrounds equipment in the city closed, including on school grounds and in Metro Vancouver-operated parks, to prevent close contact between children using these facilities. The closure also includes all skate parks and bike parks.
Parks in Delta remain otherwise open and the city encourages people to use them in support of good physical and mental health, provided social distancing of at least two metres between individuals is maintained at all times. People who are feeling unwell should not access parks.
“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.
On Thursday, March 19, Emergency Management BC, the province’s lead coordinating agency for all emergency management activities, approved Mayor George Harvie’s request to declare a local state of emergency, enabling him to enact powers necessary to enforce Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry’s verbal order to limit public gatherings and practice social distancing.
The city has begun taking immediate actions against any businesses that refuse to abide by the Provincial Health Officer’s directions, including closing the business and suspending its business licence.
“These are challenging times for residents and businesses in our community. By declaring a local state of emergency, we have additional abilities to protect the community. I have asked our bylaws department to enforce closures on some businesses that are not following the direction of our Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry,” Harvie said in a statement Thursday afternoon.
“I continue to work with all of council, staff, and senior government officials to protect this community from the impact of COVID-19.”
Earlier this week, the city closed all recreation centres, community centres, ice arenas, swimming pools, art centres, senior centres 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, and the city’s 2020 Spring Clean-Up.
Full refunds will be provided to anyone who had registered for city-organized activities and programs or who wished to extend their fitness pass during the closure period.
City hall was closed to the public late Wednesday morning. Anyone needing to pay utility fees or taxes is asked to do so online wherever possible. Failing that, the city has set up a drop box at city hall where people can pay by cheque.
All other city services remain operational via the city’s website, delta.ca.
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.
For more information about the city’s response to COVID-19 and its impact to city programs, services and events — plus precautions to take to lessen the chance of contracting the virus as well as links to the Fraser Health, Health Canada, HealthLink BC and BC Centre for Disease Control websites — visit delta.ca/coronavirus.
Also on Wednesday, the Delta Police Department closed all of its district community police offices. The move came a day after the department suspended fingerprinting services at both its headquarters in Ladner and at the North Delta Public Safety Building.
All Fraser Valley Regional libraries, including North Delta’s George Mackie Library, are closed to the public for an indefinite period of time and all library programs are cancelled.
On Wednesday, FVRL extended the closure to include all book drops. Customers are asked to keep their checked out materials, and all fines will be suspended during the closure.
All of the library’s digital content — including eBooks, audiobooks, news and magazines, music and video streaming, eLearning, “For Kids” and databases — is available online 24-7 at fvrl.bc.ca.