Drivers might not get ticketed for ignoring a Saanich school zone during the COVID-19 pandemic, but speeding past a playground could still land them in hot water.
Playground structures across the province have been closed for weeks due to the virus, but Saanich police are reminding drivers that the speed limits in playground zones remain in effect from dawn to dusk seven days a week.
Officers in Saanich are out enforcing road safety “no matter what activity is happening or not happening,” said Const. Markus Anastasiades, public information officer for the Saanich Police Department.
Just for some clarification. Playground Zones are still in effect 7 days per week, between dawn and dusk. MVA S. 147(2).
— Saanich Police (@SaanichPolice) April 9, 2020
However, Saanich school zones are another story, he explained. School is in session but for the most part, it’s taking place online.
“We’ve never really experienced anything like this before,” he said.
According to the Motor Vehicle Act, school zone speed limits are enforced on regular school days from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Anastasiades explained. However, since schools are closed, “Saanich police are not enforcing school zone [limits].”
He emphasized that this is not an excuse to speed. Drivers are asked to be mindful of the residential road limits – the limit is 50 km/h on residential roads unless otherwise posted – and are encouraged to slow down in school zones.
Anastasiades also pointed out that the Saanich Police Department “can’t speak for other municipalities,” as there are some places where schools are open to the children of frontline workers. He added that the situation in Saanich could change with a day’s notice so residents should keep an eye on the Saanich Police Department’s social media platforms for announcements and updates.
Police are also reminding residents that while there may be fewer drivers, “open roads are not an excuse to speed.” Slowing down and taking extra care is the safest choice, he noted.
“Never before has traffic safety been so important,” Anastasiades said.
He explained that there are more residents out walking or getting active and that keeping people out of the hospitals is vital because the beds are needed for patients with COVID-19. Police ask that residents continue to follow road rules and orders from provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.