The Province of Ontario announced all outdoor recreational amenities will close effective immediately.
On Monday night, Premier Doug Ford extended the state of emergency for the province for two more weeks, increasing measures to ensure physical distancing in public spaces during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act will close all outdoor recreational amenities like sports fields and playgrounds, 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, under the recommendation of Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. David Williams.
“I made a commitment to be open and upfront about what we need to do as a province to beat this virus. Based on the best medical advice available, we are taking further steps today to protect the health and safety of all Ontarians by closing outdoor recreational amenities, like sports fields and playgrounds, and extending our emergency orders to save lives,” Ford said.
“We all need to work together and do our part to stop COVID-19 by staying home, practising physical distancing, and avoiding social gatherings.”
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Green spaces in parks, trails, ravines and conservation areas that aren’t otherwise closed will remain open for walkthrough access, but individuals must maintain the proper 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 wellbeing.”
At a press conference on Monday afternoon, Ford said the state of emergency will be extended and re-evaluated every two weeks.
The state of emergency was first issued on March 17.
Over the weekend, Ontario officially banned social gatherings of more than five people effective immediately. According to the province, stronger action was required to stop the spread of the virus, and to protect the health and well-being of all Ontarians.
As of March 30, there are 1,706 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 431 recovered and 23 deceased.