Ontario extends emergency measures, closes all outdoor recreation amenities
COVID-19 measures now in effect until April 13
Marcel Vander Wier
Ontario’s efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 have been extended two weeks.
On Monday night, the provincial government issued a news release indicating the extension of its March 17 declaration of emergency — including the closure of non-essential workplaces and restrictions on gatherings of more than five people.
A further order will close all outdoor recreational amenities, including sports fields and playgrounds — effective immediately.
“We all need to work together and do our part to stop COVID-19 by staying home, practising physical distancing, and avoiding social gatherings,” said Premier Doug Ford.
The new order closes communal or shared outdoor recreational amenities everywhere in Ontario, including but not limited to playgrounds, sports fields, basketball and tennis courts, off-leash dog parks, beaches, skateboard and BMX parks, picnic areas, outdoor community gardens, park shelters, outdoor exercise equipment, condo parks and gardens, and other outdoor recreational amenities.
Green spaces in parks, trails, ravines and conservation areas that aren’t otherwise closed would remain open for walkthrough access, but individuals must maintain the safe physical distance of at least two metres apart from others. Ontario’s provincial parks and conservation reserves remain closed.
“We are acting on the best advice of our Chief Medical Officer of Health and other leading public health officials across the province” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “We will continue to take decisive action to stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect Ontarians’ health and well-being.”
The government is urging citizens to stay home except for essential reasons, and to limit the number of these essential trips.
Essential trips include accessing health-care services and medication, grocery shopping, walking pets when required and supporting vulnerable community members to meet the above needs. It is strongly recommended that people over 70 or who have compromised immune systems and/or underlying medical conditions self-isolate and get help with essential errands.