Langfird bylaw enforcement is ramping up education on physical distancing as hot weather draws crowds to lakes and parks. In this photo taken Tuesday, the crowds appear smaller and more socially distanced than those photographeed Monday and sent to the city’s mayor and council. (Dawn Gibson/News Staff)

Photos of crowded Langford beach spark COVID-19 concerns

Bylaw officers to offer physical distancing reminders as parks fill up for summer

Langford bylaw officers will ramp up education about physical distancing after the city received images of crowded lakes and beaches.

Those crowds are a cause for concern, says Coun. Lillian Szpak, especially as the region sees a small but sudden uptick in coronavirus cases.

“We want to keep our beaches open and we want to keep our parks open, so we’re asking people to please be safe, please stay in your family bubble or the small group bubble you have,” she said.

Cool lakes may be more enticing in the late July heat, but B.C. officials are warning the public to keep their distance as COVID-19 cases grow across the province and Vancouver Island.

READ ALSO: Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

B.C. recorded 30 additional cases of COVID-19 on July 21, continuing a trend of higher infection related to summer activities.

Resident Bill Benbow took photos of crowds at Langford Lake on Monday and sent them to the City of Langford, voicing his concerns about the lack pf physical distancing and calling for more controls or limits in the area. (Courtesy of Bill Benbow)

“Most concerning, in the last week and a half we have seen a growth in our number of cases, particularly in young people,”said Dr. Bonnie Henry during a Monday press conference. “The median age of infection in B.C. so far is 50, while the median age for deaths is 85.”

Health Minister Adrian Dix noted that each moment of each day matters in the fight against COVID-19.

“We know that physical distancing saves lives. We know that safe social interactions stop the spread,” he said. “We need to recommit right now to what we know has made the difference for us and our BC effort. There’s a place for common sense, but right now there’s a need for COVID sense and to use it.”

Szpak says Langford bylaw officers will be going to beaches and parks and reminding people to maintain six feet apart from those not in their circle.

“It’s so hard when it’s sunny out, when you’re young and you feel like nothing bad can possibly happen, but the fact of the matter is that there is a pandemic,” Szpak said. “It’s totally human to say, ‘I’m going to have fun and throw caution to the wind,’ but this is not the time to do that.

“If you come to the beach and see that it looks crowded, come back another time if you don’t feel you can maintain that distance.”

– With files from Katya Slepian.

READ ALSO: Air Canada, WestJet to drop physical distancing policies as air travel ticks up


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