Toronto says it has a plan to open outdoor swimming pools this summer
Mayor John Tory announced today that the city is working on a plan to safely open all outdoor pools, splash pads, wading pools and swimming beaches throughout Toronto once the province gives the go-ahead to reopen.
Speaking at his daily press briefing Wednesday, Tory said a new program called SwimTO will ensure Toronto residents have a safe way to cool off from the heat this summer.
"SwimTO is a quick-launch program that will help Torontonians access outdoor aquatic amenities to cool off this summer," he said.
"The SwimTO plan represents an opportunity to ensure that all Torontonians can safely — safely in many respects but also in the context of public health — access outdoor aquatic recreation and cool down during hot summer temperatures as the province lifts its emergency orders and Toronto itself begins to reopen."
While the starting dates of the program are dependent on when the province gives the green light for Toronto to enter Stage 2 of reopening, Tory said they expect orders could be lifted as early as June 19.
3/3 SwimTO is a quick start program to ensure our beaches, outdoor pools, and water features can open quickly once permitted. Both programs are being organized to minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19.— Ana Bailão (@anabailaoTO) June 10, 2020
He also said Toronto's swimming beaches — which have remained open throughout the pandemic without lifeguards present and residents have therefore not been advised to swim — will once again be supervised.
Lifeguards will return to six beaches on June 22, and the remaining five beaches will have supervision by July 1.
Tory also said staff is currently expediting the final preparations necessary to safely reopen. They are filling pools, turning on mechanical and filtration systems and servicing where required, turning water on and hiring and training staff.
He also said the plan is being guided by Toronto's medical officer of health, Dr. Eileen de Villa.
"While we continue to work to stop the spread of COVID-19, it is also of critical importance that we work to prevent heat-related illnesses at the same time," he said.
"And one way the city can achieve this is by providing easy access to its outdoor water amenities together with clear instructions for physical distancing and hygiene for users. These steps will help to ensure the safety of staff and of the public."
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