The City of Vancouver is suspending enforcement of parking meters, rush-hour zones, residential permit-parking zones and parking time limits, including three-hour parking restrictions.
The moves are designed to help essential workers and protect front-line staff during during COVID-19 crisis, according to a March 30 press release.
“With residents doing their part by staying home as much as possible, traffic volume and parking demand have dropped significantly. As a result, the need to enforce certain types of parking is no longer required,” the city said in the release.
“At the same time, many essential workers, including healthcare professionals, are working longer and more frequent shifts. The suspension of these parking-enforcement services will support the people who are working hard to keep our community safe and healthy.
To ensure there’s street parking for healthcare and essential workers, however, the city wants Vancouver residents to avoid street parking if they have off-street parking options.
“This is not a complete suspension of parking enforcement. Some measures are critical to keep Vancouver safe and its streets operational, particularly during these difficult times,” the city added.
Parking-enforcement officers will be enforcing:
- Parking in spots designated for people with disabilities
- Safety violations (such as parking too close to a crosswalk, intersection or in front of a fire hydrant)
- Impeding the movement of others (such as blocking a driveway or lane)
- Special zones that must remain open for other purposes (such as goods-delivery loading zones, bus zones and bus stops, passenger pick-up and drop-off zones)
“The City will monitor the situation and modify parking enforcement as needed, or if there are safety or community concerns, the press release stated.
Meanwhile, Health Minister Adrian Dix announced at a March 30 press conference that pay parking is also being suspended at hospitals for patients, staff and visitors.
"This change makes it easier for individuals to avoid touching screens and buttons at payment kiosks that may have been touched by someone previously, and also supports physical distancing measures that have been mandated by our provincial health officer," Dix said.
"Obviously, there are different circumstances at different sites. Many healthcare workers, for example, pay off their paychecks for for parking, and so on, and those deductions will not occur."
The news was confirmed in subsequent press releases from Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) and Providence Health Services Authority (PHSA).
"To ensure equitability for all staff and medical staff, whether they are working from home or at health authority sites, PHSA is temporarily suspending payroll deductions for parking fees," the PHSA added in its release.
Like PHSA, VCH indicated pay parking would be suspended as of April 1. That includes all VCH owned and operated lots and designated Impark lots near VCH healthcare facilities.
The authority added that it was working with the cities of Vancouver, Richmond and North Vancouver to ensure there is unrestricted parking in neighbourhoods close to its hospitals.
"Parking tickets will be waived if staff or physicians get ticketed during a work shift while parking close to Vancouver General Hospital, Richmond Hospital and Lions Gate Hospital. Staff will be provided instructions on how to get the tickets waived," VCH explained.