The City of Vaughan is closing its outdoor skating rinks, toboggan hill and dog park effective Friday, January 15, in response to rising COVID-19 cases.
The announcement follows Ontario’s recent Stay at Home order and declaration of a second provincial emergency order.
Most facilities, including Vaughan City Hall and the Joint Operations Centre, remain closed until June 2021 at the earliest. Open trails will remain available; however, users are reminded to follow all public health guidelines – including practising physical distancing – when visiting them.
Vaughan is the first region in the GTA to close its outdoor activities.
“This is the most recent step taken to protect the health and safety of citizens and staff. All decisions about closing and opening facilities continue to be informed by Vaughan-specific data and reflect guidance issued by York Region Public Health and the provincial government – with public safety being the priority,” the release said.
In addition, enforcement and education efforts have been increased across the city.
“Greater attention and a more assertive, proactive approach to enforcement are underway. Public complaints, concerns and inquiries should be reported to Access Vaughan at 905-832-2281 for follow up by the By-law Enforcement team.”
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The Stay at Home order began on Thursday, only allowing for essential trips, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing healthcare services, for exercise or for essential work.
In addition to limiting outings to essential trips, all businesses must ensure that any employee who can work from home, does work from home.
Outdoor organized public gatherings and social gatherings are further restricted to a limit of five people with limited exceptions. According to the province, this is consistent with the rules during the lockdown during the first wave of COVID-19 in Spring 2020 and will allow individuals and families to enjoy time outdoors safely.
Individuals are required to wear a mask or face covering in the indoor areas of businesses or organizations that are open.
In addition, all non-essential retail stores, including hardware stores, alcohol retailers, and those offering curbside pickup or delivery, must open no earlier than 7 am and close no later than 8 pm. However, the restricted hours of operation do not apply to stores that primarily sell food, pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores, and restaurants for takeout or delivery.
Non-essential construction is further restricted, including below-grade construction, exempting survey.
The order will be in place for at least 28 days.