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City of Calgary to skaters: Please follow physical distance rules

Anthony Sturn and his three sons have recently been staying active during the coronavirus by visiting skateparks like Shaw Millennium Park. 

So far, Sturn said he’s seen most people following the rules.

Earlier this month, after Alberta began the provincial relaunch, the City of Calgary reopened skateparks for public use.

In subsequent city COVID-19 briefings, they’ve said skateparks are an ongoing concern for public health infractions.

“We’re worried about losing this battle,” said Calgary Emergency Management Agency Chief, Tom Sampson in the May 12 city briefng.

“We’re worried that if we can’t control the physical spacing at the skateparks that we’re going to have to close them.”

Visitors at Calgary skateparks are required to maintain a distance of at least two metres at all times.  They’re also to avoid large crowds.

Chief Sampson also made an appeal to parents.

“And so we’re asking you to have that talk with your kids. Give them some tools to negotiate with their friends so that we don’t have to come in and write tickets, get more fines those sorts of things,” he said.

Have to ‘keep and eye on them.’

Sturn said he hasn’t been overly concerned for his or children’s safety. He’s also seen a great deal of social distancing. 

“I think the majority of time people are staying apart from each other,” he said.

“We keep ourselves safe and remind the kids to stay away from others as much as we can. But, you know, you have to keep an eye on them for sure.”

Nathan, Noah and Jacob Sturn practicing their scooter skills at Shaw Millennium Park, Calgary

The Calgary Association for Skateboarding Enthusiasts (CASE) posted to Instagram and then an online message to skatepark users.

“We understand that the majority of you are following the guidelines and staying away from busy skateparks and distancing if you are at a park,” the post read.

“Unfortunately, a few idiots may ruin it for the rest of us – the City may close skateparks again.”

The post goes on to tell city skateboarders and other “park lurkers” to adhere to distancing rules. It asks them to tell others to do the same.

Remember the rules – no more than 15

Calgary skateparks are popular place to ‘hang out’  but bylaw officers are asking people to avoid large crowds. They’re asking that if a park is too crowded that individuals leave and come back or try a different park. 

Sturn said the last few days have been fairly quiet at the park.

“Yesterday we came and it was only five degrees and there was only maybe nine or 10 people here,” he said.

Large group gathering regulations mean that no more than 15 people should be together. 

The City of Calgary said skateparks are exceptionally challenging to regulate when it comes to these safety measures. 

“A challenge with the skateparks is that there are spectators who watch the skateboarders, compounding the problem by exceeding the 15-person limit.” 

As the warmer weather continues the parks are sure to see an increase in crowds. The city warns that if proper physical distancing measures aren’t met, they may be forced to close the parks. 

“With the long weekend approaching and warmer temperatures in the forecast, it’s important for Calgarians to continue to practice physical distancing,” said Sampson.

“With two-thirds of the province’s COVID-19 cases here in Calgary, we need to be determined in our efforts and follow public health measures.”