Upper Goldstream Falls/ Instagram: j_gibzzphoto

British Columbia is shutting down all provincial parks after complaints that people visiting these parks are not adhering to physical distancing directives during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The parks are closed effective immediately and the ban on camping at all provincial parks has been extended until May 31st, 2020.

“Because physical distancing works, it is critical that we take every action needed to restrict the spread of COVID-19. This applies to British Columbians and out-of-province visitors who were planning to visit or stay at our provincial parks,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, in a statement.

“We tried to provide safe space for people to get some exercise and fresh air in our beautiful parks. But it has proven too challenging to maintain safe distance between visitors. This action is difficult but necessary. We look forward to the day we can welcome people back to our wonderful parks.”

The province made the decision to partially shut down provincial parks last month, but expanded the closure to all parks after continued feedback from RCMP, local government, First Nations, local search-and-rescue organizations and the general public that some people were ignoring the provincial health order to maintain 2 metres (6.5 feet) of distance between each other.

Those who had booked camping trips at any of these parks between now and May 31st will be issued a refund automatically.

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

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 1,469,245.

Over 86,250 people have died from the illness and 316,520 have made a full recovery.

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