City of Toronto suspends its recreational programs and services

Oct 9 2020, 7:19 am

The City of Toronto is suspending its recreational programs and services, based on advice from the Medical Officer of Health.

On Friday, the City announced that recreation programs in their facilities would need to be adjusted to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Last week, Dr. Eileen de Villa provided recommendations to Ontario saying indoor dining and fitness classes needed to be closed to confront the current resurgence of the virus.

“Based on these recommendations, Parks, Forestry and Recreation staff have been working with Toronto Public Health to review the City’s current recreation programs,” the release adds.

Effective Tuesday, October 13, the following recreation programs and services are suspended:

  • registered and instructional programs such as learn to skate and swim programs, dance, group fitness and wellness programs
  • hockey games and scrimmages
  • drop-in sports programs other than leisure and lane swim and leisure skate
    table tennis, billiards, foosball
  • access to the City’s two conservatories
  • indoor permits for social gatherings and sport games/group fitness.

“These programs are deemed high-risk for COVID-19 transmission due to being indoors, where the physical nature of the activity results in close contact and where masks cannot be worn,” the City says.

They also note that the suspension of registered and instructional programs will impact approximately 20,000 registrants — they will be contacted to advise of program cancellations. Refunds will be issued automatically over the next few weeks.

“We are committed to protecting the health of our residents and following the public health advice. We are doing everything we can as a City government to limit the spread of COVID-19. The choices people make are critical to helping us in this effort and I want to thank the vast majority of people for continuing to follow public health advice and doing the right thing,” Mayor John Tory said.

“I know that the suspension of these indoor recreation programs will be frustrating for those who were looking forward to these activities. I have asked City staff to work towards developing supplementary outdoor activities that people can take part in safely this fall and winter.”

City staff are working to adapt recreational activities that could be offered outdoors where possible, and to ensure that residents across the city are aware of existing outdoor recreation opportunities that are in line with public health advice.

The City will continue to operate the following programs with capacity restrictions and other health measures in place:

  • Leisure swim and skate
  • Lane swimming
  • Fitness centres
  • Arts and general interest instruction
  • After-school Recreation Care
  • December camps for children
  • Drop-in youth programs that do not include sports
  • Indoor athletic training permits with no game play, including hockey training permits for outdoor sports.

It’s important to note that all the City’s outdoor amenities in parks and green spaces, such as sports fields, skate parks, trails, BMX parks, tennis courts, basketball courts, outdoor fitness equipment, picnic shelters and playgrounds, remain open.

The City emphasized that all residents are reminded to adopt steps for self-protection: stay home except for essential travel to workplaces, schools, medical facilities, groceries and exercise; limit contact with anyone who doesn’t live in the same household; wear a mask when outside home, especially in indoor settings and when physical distancing is difficult; wash hands frequently; and remain at home when ill.

Clarrie FeinsteinClarrie Feinstein

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