SURREY, B.C. — British Columbia has temporarily closed a park where American and Canadian friends and families have been able to reunite despite the closed U.S.-Canada border.
Authorities said Thursday that Peace Arch Provincial Park in Surrey, British Columbia, had become too crowded, raising concerns about traffic and public safety during the coronavirus pandemic.
The park is adjacent to Peace Arch Historical State Park in Washington state. Visitors from both sides can cross the border without showing passports or other forms of identification, as long as they remain in the park.
With the border closed to nonessential travel, the park has been one of the only options for separated friends and families to see each other. Some cross-border couples have even had their weddings there.
But British Columbia officials say parking lots and access roads have been overwhelmed with nearly twice as many vehicles as typical peak summer traffic. Efforts to manage the number of visitors by posting signs, increasing patrols and limiting park hours have fallen short, they said.
Officials have also noted that Canada recently changed travel restrictions to allow immediate family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents to enter Canada to be with an immediate family member as long as they are asymptomatic of COVID-19 and self-isolate for 14 days on arrival.
Authorities said they would reopen the park when they deem it safe to do so.
The Associated Press