Guelph to reopen some outdoor spaces amid coronavirus pandemic

Ontario Premier Doug Ford said Wednesday the province does not have a set date to enter Stage 2 of its reopening plan, adding the decision to move forward with the next stage would be up to health officials. He also said there’s no specific number of cases that would cause them to roll back the reopening.

The City of Guelph says it is easing restrictions on some outdoor spaces, reopening certain amenities that were previously closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Residents are now able to play on sports fields, canoe and kayak, fish, park in parking lots and use picnic shelters, pavilions and benches.

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Social distancing rules are still in effect and residents must continue to restrict gatherings to five or less and keep a distance of two metres apart from people they do not live with.

Mayor Cam Guthrie said spending time outdoors is important for physical and mental health, but residents must act responsibly.

“This is a positive first step toward getting back to our routines, but we still have a responsibility to use our outdoor facilities safely,” he said in a statement. “That means maintaining physical distance and following public health protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

Residents are still not allowed to participate in organized sports, use playgrounds or splash pads, book pavilions for large gatherings or use the fenced-in leash-free area at Peter Misersky Park.

There are eight leash-free areas with no fence and 41 sports fields that can be used to let the dogs run about.

Tennis and pickleball courts will reopen on Saturday and the Silvercreek Skate Park will reopen the week of May 25.

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health said they will be monitoring new cases and won’t hesitate to ask the city to scale things back if there is an increase in cases.

“Because re-opening city amenities means more chance for us to be around each other, we each must do all we can to prevent the spread of the virus,” said Dr. Nicola Mercer, medical officer of health.

“Washing your hands, keeping a two-metre distance between you and others, limiting gatherings to five or fewer people and wearing a mask when appropriate will all help keep you and those around you safe.”

More information on the reopening can be found on the city’s website.

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As of Wednesday afternoon, Guelph was reporting 135 coronavirus cases. Of those, eight people have died and 95 have recovered.

Ontario reported 390 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday and 43 additional deaths.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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