No more reunions: Peace Arch Park to temporarily close due to increase in number of visitors
For families and loved ones separated due to the COVID-19 pandemic and travel restrictions, Peace Arch Provincial Park on the U.S.-Canada border remained a place where they could see each other's faces, hug and reconnect.
Unfortunately, officials in British Columbia announced Thursday that the park will be temporarily closing at 8 p.m. due to an increased number of visitors flooding the roads and communities surrounding the park.
"This closure addresses the public safety and traffic concerns in neighboring communities due to a significant increase in the number of park visitors," wrote B.C.'s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy in a release. "Parking lots and local access roads have been overwhelmed with nearly twice the number of vehicles compared to peak days in the summer season, resulting in illegal parking. Attendance has nearly doubled over the same period compared to last year, leading to an increase in pedestrians along roadways."
Provincial parks in British Columbia reopened on May 14 and saw an increased number of people separated during the pandemic reuniting in the park, including couples getting married there.
Officials have not provided a timeline for reopening the park, stating that "it will reopen when it is deemed safe to do so."
Both countries have agreed to extend the border closure until July 21.
However, exemptions in Canada's Federal Quarantine Act will allow immediate family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents to enter Canada as long as they stay with their family member and self-isolate for at least 14 days.