Thursday, March 4, 2021

Province extends emergency declaration, closes all outdoor recreational amenities

In an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19 and keep people home, the Government of Ontario has extended the Declaration of Emergency and associated emergency measures, including the closure of non-essential workplaces and restrictions on social gatherings.

Provincial officials said in a press release issued Monday evening, March 30, 2020, in addition, Ontario is issuing a new emergency order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act to close all outdoor recreational amenities, such as sports fields and playgrounds, effective immediately.

These actions are based on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health.

“I made a commitment to be open and upfront about what we need to do as a province to beat this virus,” stated Premier Doug Ford, in a press release.

“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. We all need to work together and do our part to stop COVID-19 by staying home, practising physical distancing, and avoiding social gatherings.”

This new order would close all communal or shared, public or private, 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, Provincial officials say.

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, provincial officials added.

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,” stated Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, in a media release.

“We will continue to take decisive action to stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect Ontarians’ health and wellbeing.”

Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, said the health and well-being of Ontarians is a top priority of the government as they navigate through the COVID-19 health crisis.

“I know our municipal partners are already taking action locally to protect their residents,” Clark stated.

“This order makes the rules around closing shared outdoor recreational amenities consistent across the province.”

To ensure the province is able to continue its extensive efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19, Ontario will also extend the March 17, 2020 declaration of emergency and subsequent emergency orders, regulations and amendments issued under s.7.0.1 and 7.0.2(4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.

The following declaration and orders have been extended and will be in effect until April 13, 2020:

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