Ontario extends emergency orders to May 29 but allows outdoor sports fields and off-leash dog parks to open

Government also allowing outdoor picnic sites to open and drive-in religious gatherings to take place

Effective May 19, 2020, the Ontario government is allowing some outdoor recreational amenities to open, such as these soccer fields at Beavermead Park in Peterborough. (Photo: Bruce Head / kawarthaNOW)
Effective May 19, 2020, the Ontario government is allowing some outdoor recreational amenities to open, such as these soccer fields at Beavermead Park in Peterborough. (Photo: Bruce Head / kawarthaNOW)

The Ontario government announced on Tuesday (May 19) that it is extending all existing emergency orders until Friday, May 29th, but is also loosening some restrictions as part of its first stage of reopening the province.

The orders, which were due to expire on May 19, include the closure of bars and restaurants except for takeout and delivery only, restrictions on social gatherings of more than five people, and staff redeployment rules for long-term care homes and congregate settings like retirement homes and women’s shelters.

However, the government is amending an emergency order to allow some outdoor recreational amenities to open, including 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, and outdoor picnic sites, benches and shelters in park and recreational areas.

Advertisement - story continues below

 

 

Outdoor playgrounds, play structures and equipment, fitness equipment, public swimming pools, splash pads, and similar outdoor water facilities will remain closed until later stages of the province’s reopening plan.

The government has also approved an exemption to the emergency order related to gatherings of people to allow drive-in religious gatherings, under certain conditions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Vehicles must be kept two metres or more apart, only members of the same household can be in one vehicle, people will not be able to leave their vehicles, and no more than five people can conduct the service at one time from outside a motor vehicle and they must stay at least two metres apart.

“Although we are entering the first stage of our framework to reopen the economy, it’s critical that we continue to do so in a safe and responsible manner,” Premier Doug Ford states in a media release. “The people of Ontario have been doing a fantastic job to help flatten the curve and stop the spread of this terrible virus. With warmer weather beginning, individuals and families will now be able to enjoy many outdoor amenities, but everyone must continue to maintain physical distancing from those outside of their household.”

Health minister Christine Elliott says “reopening parks and other outdoor spaces is important for our physical and mental health” but is encouraging people to be responsible by keeping a safe distance of at least two metres from members outside of their household.

The government says it has extended the emergency orders until May 29th in consultation with Ontario’s chief medical officer of health. The orders are made under the province’s declaration of a state of emergency under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. The state of emergency was first declared on March 27th and was extended until June 2nd on May 12th.

Advertisement - story continues below

 

 

Here is the list of all current emergency orders:

Comments