Toronto is reopening all community centres and indoor pools
At long last, the City of Toronto is resuming operations at all 119 of its community and recreation centres, including 29 locations with indoor pools that are available to members of the public "for limited use" beginning July 20.
The pools and rec centres are scheduled to open on Monday, more than four months after they were shuttered to prevent the spread of COVID-19 back in March — and weeks after Toronto got the official go-ahead to reopen them as part of Stage 2.
Technically, Toronto's indoor pools and community centres were allowed to reopen on June 24, when the city entered Stage 2 of Ontario's economic reopening plan.
It wasn't until today, however, that Mayor John Tory announced that they were ready to reopen their doors to the public — albeit with a host of new public health and safety measures in place.
"Visitors to the city's community centres should expect changes similar to those that they have experienced at other city amenities and indoor public spaces," reads a press release announcing the move. "Visitors will be screened upon entry and will be asked for contact information for contact tracing, should it be required."
Indoor pools will reopen for drop-in lane and leisure swimming, but capacity will be reduced within them to 25 per cent to ensure space for physical distancing. Swimmers will be limited to 45-minute-long sessions, followed by enhanced cleanings.
Community centre facilities and what's allowed to take place within them will also be limited, with gymnasiums, fitness areas, walking tracks, kitchens, studios, saunas and whirlpools all off limits.
"At this time, the City's community centres cannot offer or facilitate indoor sports, fitness and wellness activities, singing and dancing programs as well as food preparation, distribution or dining activities where equipment or supplies are passed or shared amongst participants," reads the press release.
"This includes activities like card games, chess or dominoes. The City anticipates that some of these amenities and activities will resume when Toronto reaches Stage 3 of reopening."
Toronto has not yet been approved to enter Stage 3, but with 24 of Ontario's 34 public health regions now greenlit to enter on Friday, the city is expected to follow in a matter of weeks or even days.
As of Monday, July 20, people will be able to use pools under the restrictions mentioned above, as well as community recreation centre lounges, meeting and multi-purpose rooms, computer labs and washrooms.
"Opening these locations will provide more recreation opportunities and help increase Torontonians' options for relief from the summer heat and prevent heat-related illnesses," writes the city.
"Residents visiting community recreation centres should continue to follow Toronto Public Health's advice to stay home when they are ill, wash hands often, practise physical distancing and wear a face covering or mask in all indoor public spaces."
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