In a statement released this morning, Victoria’s Butchart Gardens announced they have shuttered their doors in light of the growing COVID-19 pandemic.

As of 9 a.m. on March 26th, the iconic gardens will temporarily close to the public.

The Victoria landmark has stated that they will be reviewing this decision in 14 days, and potential visitors should continue to visit their website in order to keep updated on the closure.

“We apologize to, and thank the many visitors for your messages of appreciation for providing a safe, beautiful, peaceful place to come and seek solace in these troubled times. We also apologize to those who were looking forward to visiting us,” the release stated.

Butchart Gardens hosts over one million visitors each year across their 55 acres, and employees over 50 full-time gardeners alone along with numerous other staff.

The popular spot is a hub for tourists and locals alike and has been in operation for over 100 years in Victoria.

See all the latest updates about the global COVID-19 pandemic on Vancouver Island

According to the latest update, there are now 659 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in B.C. including 47 on Vancouver Island.

The federal government recently announced an $82 billion assistance package for Canadians and businesses struggling financially during the global pandemic. This was followed by a $5 billion relief package announced by the B.C. provincial government.

This includes a $2,000/month package for four months for all Canadians who have lost income due to COVID-19, and $500/month assistance package to help tenants pay rent in B.C.

The provincial government also announced the indefinite suspension of all in-person classes at K-12 schools in B.C., closure of all bars and restaurants, and a moratorium on evictions among other steps to enforce social distancing measures.

Canada has tightened its borders and is denying entry to people who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents in Canada.

U.S. citizens are no longer an exception to this rule, and non-essential travel between U.S. and Canada has been temporarily banned as of March 21st. Moreover international flights have now been restricted to international airports in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Calgary.

The BCCDC has set up a 2019 novel coronavirus telephone information line at 1-833-784-4397 for those who have further questions about this disease.

Anyone concerned that they may have been exposed to, or are experiencing symptoms of the novel coronavirus, should contact their primary care provider, local public health office, or call 8-1-1.

The Province has also created the 1-888-COVID-19  line to connect British Columbians needing non-medical information about the coronavirus pandemic.

As of the time of publication, the total number of COVID-19 patients worldwide has risen to 499,959.

Over 22,300 people have died from the illness and 121,214 have made a full recovery.