VIDEO: Saanich locks down playgrounds after video of busy park goes viral

Mayor Fred Haynes weighs in on need for strict adherance to distancing, isolation

The District of Saanich took quick action after a video of a busy playground went viral during the coronavirus pandemic.

Shayla Pready was at the Cadboro-Gyro Park with a friend on March 20 when she shot a TikTok video of the busy playground, starting the footage with a shot of a COVID-19 advisory saying that the playground was closed.

“We look over and you see all these families … even some dads were playing on the zip line,” she recalled. “My heart sank, to be honest. It’s hard to see.”

READ MORE COVID-19 COVERAGE HERE

The busy park and beach were in stark contrast to the provincial health authority’s orders to maintain social distancing and avoid large gatherings to help curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, which, as of March 25, has infected 617 British Columbians and killed 13.

Within a matter of days, Pready’s video had been shared to Facebook and viewed more than 100,000 times.

“The comments were blowing up about how … selfish and ignorant those people were being,” Pready said. “It was never meant to be shameful, it was just a statement about what can happen when the government puts trust in our hands … and how that can be abused.”

But one of the people who saw the video was Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes. He directed the District to take immediate action.

READ ALSO: Playgrounds across the South Island close as COVID-19 spreads

He said the video raised major concerns – not just about the lack of social distancing but about the amount of contact.

“Surfaces can keep the virus active for many hours and then children would come and play on it and then other children would come and play on it … children touch their faces, mouths and noses,” Haynes said. “We needed to take further action.”

On the morning of March 23, Saanich staff were sent out to tape off and in some cases, lock down equipment at the District’s 69 playgrounds.

“If you see the park now it is taped off with much clearer signs to educate people,” Haynes said. “I’m very pleased with our staff and our residents who pointed out that this is something that can’t continue.

“We have to have a unified message and follow the health advice…and they are saying self isolate, wash your hands, take care of sneezing and coughing and of course that includes sanitizing play equipment, doors and door handles,” he added. “And it was impossible to do that regularly enough [to] the play equipment.”

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Outdoor recreation facilities close across Greater Victoria



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CoronavirusSaanich

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Thief nabs $600 worth of tools in break-and-enter at Saanich hardware store

Police department sees a spike in break-and-enters

Victoria police seek public help finding high-risk missing woman last seen on ferry

Mariah Konchak has shoulder-length dark hair, scars above her right eye and may be missing a tooth

Island Health to use Saanich recreation centre to support pandemic needs

Cedar Hill Recreation Centre will be used as a referral-only assessment clinic

Greater Victoria resident sick with COVID-19 calls it a ‘horrible disease’

Tim Boat says he has ‘extreme coughing fits every hour’ to clear his lungs

Tents, sleeping bags donated to Our Place from local Victoria store

Robinson’s Outdoor Store received funds from PwC Canada to make the donation

B.C. records five new COVID-19 deaths, ‘zero chance’ life will return to normal in April

Province continue to have a recovery rate of about 50 per cent

6.5-magnitude earthquake in Idaho shakes B.C. Interior

An earthquake was reportedly felt just before 5 p.m. throughout the Okanagan

John Horgan extends B.C.’s state of emergency for COVID-19

Premier urges everyone to follow Dr. Bonnie Henry’s advice

B.C.’s first community COVID-19 death was dentist ‘dedicated’ to health: lawyer

Vincent was 64 when he died on March 22 after attending the Pacific Dental Conference

Two inmates at prison housing Robert Pickton test positive for COVID-19

Correctional Service of Canada did not release any details on the identities of the inmates

BC SPCA launches matching campaign to help vulnerable animals after big donations

Two BC SPCA donors have offered up to $65,000 in matching donations

Quarantined B.C. mom say pandemic has put special-needs families in ‘crisis mode’

Surrey’s Christine Williams shares family’s challenges, strengths

Anti-tax group calls for MPs, senators to donate scheduled pay raises to charity

Bill C-30, adopted 15 years ago, mandates the salary and allowance increases each calendar year

Liberals delay release of 75% wage subsidy details, costs: Morneau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

Most Read