New rules imposed by the City of Edmonton at its dog parks took effect Saturday.

In an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the city closed four fenced-in dog parks, including Paisley, Lauderdale, Manning Village and Alex Decoteau.

"Fenced-in off-leash areas are smaller which poses risk of not being able to social distance properly," said Ward 6 Councillor Scott McKeen.

One dog owner who frequents the fenced-in park in Paisley was happy to see the padlock and chain on the gate.

"I think they should have done it a week or so ago," said Adrian Makowichuk.

He said he’s opted to walk his dog around the neighbourhood the past three weeks because the dog park was too crowded.

"I don't think a lot of people have been taking it seriously so maybe the tougher restrictions are a better idea," he said.

The rules have also changed at the city's 38 off-leash areas. Dogs must now be on a leash at all times.

"It's frustrating," said Ryan Podlubny. "Everyone’s cooped up and the dogs, they don’t understand what’s going on and they can’t get the exercise they need."

He brings his puppy to the off-leash areas to tire him out.

"With a seven month old puppy that’s going to be all full of beans all day now, it’s going to make life a little more stressful."

Peace officers were patrolling the parks on Saturday to make sure dog owners were aware of the new rules.

According to the city, anyone who breaks the rules will get a warning or possibly a $100 fine.

"People are upset, angry and I understand it," said McKeen.

He initially wasn't happy with the city manager's decision to impose the restrictions but now says that tough decision was necessary.

"People’s lives are being terribly impacted. It’s a horrible situation. So we’re making, and Adam made the best decision he could to save lives.”

If people continue to ignore physical distancing in off-leash parks, the city may close them entirely.