People at the beach in front of Discovery Bay Resort on Tuesday, July 14. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)

City encourages safe visits to Kelowna beaches, parks for B.C. Day long weekend

‘Safety Education Ambassadors’ will ensure residents and visitors in public spaces are practicing safe physical distancing

The City of Kelowna is reminding beach-goers to be cautious and courteous over the long weekend.

While crowded beaches are typically a sign of summer in Kelowna, any type of large gathering is a serious concern during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the city.

“The B.C. Day long weekend is the pinnacle of summer in the Okanagan and we encourage residents to get out, get active and enjoy the fresh air – just make sure to be safe while doing so,” said Lance Kayfish, the city’s risk manager. “If the parking lot is full or the beach or park looks too crowded, make the smart choice and find a different, quieter location. We are lucky in Kelowna to have plenty of beach and park options to choose from.”

According to Kayfish, if you can’t find a spot to put down your towel that is at least six feet away from others, the beach is too busy.

“We ask that you simply be flexible in your weekend plans, try a different spot, or simply come back later when it’s less busy.”

Starting this weekend, the city is sending “safety education ambassadors” to popular outdoor areas in Kelowna including beaches, parks, sports fields and waterfront areas to ensure residents and visitors are practicing safe physical distancing while enjoying public spaces.

“We’ve restructured the Parks Ambassador Program to address an immediate need in our community in pandemic education,” said Kayfish. “We commend those who are finding ways to stay active by choosing low-risk activities in larger spaces, unfortunately, it only takes a few people bending the rules to put others at risk. Our ambassadors are there to provide that reminder and for the most part, people are responsive and willing to adjust their behaviour.”

The program is expected to run throughout August.

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