Town of Cobourg Prepares to Open Some Outdoor Recreational Amenities

In City Hall

On May 19, 2020 the Government of Ontario announced that it amended Ontario Regulation 104/20 made under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act – Closure of Outdoor Recreational Amenities.

These amendments will allow the reopening of the following amenities:

· Outdoor sports facilities and multi-use fields (including baseball diamonds, soccer fields, and Frisbee golf locations, tennis, platform tennis, table tennis and pickleball courts, basketball courts, BMX parks and skate parks)

· Off-leash dog areas

· Outdoor picnic sites, benches and shelters in parks and recreational areas

What Outdoor Recreational Amenities will Cobourg be Reopening?
As part of the first stage of the provincial Framework for Reopening the Province, the Town of Cobourg will be gradually reopening some outdoor recreational amenities, including:

· Boat Launch – The Cobourg Marina public boat launch ramp has reopened as of May 22, 2020. There will be no charge for the boat launch at this time until the Marina office reopens.

· Community Garden – The community garden has reopened for garden members only.

· Leash-Free Dog Park – The Cobourg leash-free dog park will reopen on May 23, 2020.

· Outdoor Recreational Amenities – Baseball diamonds, basketball courts and soccer fields will reopen on May 23, 2020.

· Parks and Beach – All Town parks, beach, outdoor picnic sites, benches and shelters are open for non-contact, unorganized sport or activity use* only, while also maintaining a physical distance of at least two metres from any other person using the space. Organized public events and social gatherings of more than five people is strictly prohibited (unless part of the same household).

· Skateboard Park – The skateboard park will reopen early next week.

Tennis and Pickleball Courts – Will reopen early next week.

What Does ‘Unorganized Sport or Activity’ Use Mean?
‘Unorganized Sport or Activity’ use shall mean a sport, game or activity that is not pre-planned by an individual, group or organization and is considered to be spontaneous.

What’s Closed
With these changes, the existing emergency order will maintain the closure of all outdoor playgrounds, play structures and equipment and portions of park and recreational areas containing outdoor fitness equipment. It will also include the continued closure of outdoor splash pads and swimming pools and all communal facilities intended to be used by persons using outdoor sports amenities.

Adhere to Physical Distancing and Public Health Advice
As the Town of Cobourg prepares to reopen some outdoor recreational amenities citizens are being asked to respect the following public health advice and guidelines:

· Maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from any other person using the amenity (unless part of the same household).

· Do not participate or hold gatherings or events with more than five people (unless part of the same household)

· No organized* team sports are permitted on reopened courts and fields unless they involve only members of the same household

· Practice hand hygiene, wear a non-medical mask or face covering wherever possible and limit contact with surfaces.

Take Precautions
When going outdoors in public spaces:
· Plan your activity in advance to ensure physical distancing of at least 2 metres is possible:
consider going during non-peak hours
walk along the sides of trails and other public pathways to maintain distance
wear a mask to help limit the risk of spread to other

· Practice good hand hygiene:
wash your hands frequently
refrain from touching your face with unclean hands
carry and use hand sanitizer

Activities Permitted
Citizens are permitted to participate in a number of activities as long as they do so with common sense and follow all public health orders and guidelines.
Examples of permitted activities include:
· going for walks, bike rides or flying kites

· gardening in community settings

· visiting parks (check provincial or national parks for restrictions before visiting)

· activities in public or private facilities that municipalities or operators have reopened:
lakes, parks and trails
open fields like soccer pitches or ball diamonds
sports courts

Activities Not Recommended
COVID-19 can be transmitted by touching objects or surfaces the virus has landed on then touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Activities that carry this risk are not recommended, even with physical distancing in place, including:
· communal meals, such as barbecues, picnics or drinks with friends and neighbours

· communal features, such as inflatables or trampolines

Activities Not Allowed
Under recent health orders, an activity is not allowed to proceed if it involves:

· league play, events, festivals or competitions

· any outdoor event or gathering of more than five people, including private gatherings such as backyard barbecues and weddings (unless part of the same household)

· a situation where physical distancing isn’t possible – people are required to maintain 2 metres (6 feet) from each other, unless they are from the same household

· attending most public recreation and private entertainment facilities, such as:
swimming pools and gyms
casinos and bingo halls

What Happens if Public Health Guidelines Are Not Followed
The Town of Cobourg’s Bylaw Enforcement and Cobourg Police Service’s first priority remains the health and safety of the community and staff and ask for the community’s patience as the Town reviews these changes and ensures that reopening is safe. If physical distancing guidelines are not being followed by citizens the outdoor recreational amenities currently reopening could shut down once again to protect the health and wellness of the community.

Pete Fisher
Author: Pete Fisher

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