These are the outdoor amenities that are still open in Toronto
While a number of outdoor activities are now prohibited in Toronto thanks to the provincial government's latest efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Ontario, some outdoor recreational amenities remain open to the public to allow residents to get some much-needed fresh air and exercise.
Speaking during Toronto's COVID-19 press briefing Monday, Fire Chief Matthew Pegg indicated that city staff will be moving to block off all those amenities that cannot be used according to provincial guidelines, but he also outlined those still available for public use.
Amenities that remain open to members of the public throughout the latest stay-at-home order include parks and beaches, playgrounds, public washrooms, dog off-leash areas, benches in parks or recreational areas and community and allotment gardens, according to the city.
#CityofTO parks and playgrounds, off-leash dog areas, outdoor allotment gardens and community gardens, park washrooms and park benches were not included in the Provincial Order and will remain open.— City of Toronto (@cityoftoronto) April 19, 2021
"There are more than 1,500 parks across Toronto," said the city in a news release. "At this time, parking lots at popular destination parks and beaches remain open. The City is monitoring crowding at these locations."
And while the province's ban on select outdoor amenities and activities technically came into effect this past weekend, the city is only now beginning to block off the affected areas — a process which is expected to take about a week to complete.
Outdoor recreational amenities that are required to shutter under provincial regulations include picnic tables and shelters, golf courses, disk golf courses, sports courts and fields (i.e. basketball and tennis courts, soccer fields, baseball diamonds, lawn bowling greens), BMX and skate parks, outdoor fitness equipment and dry pads.
By order of Provincial Regulation, City-operated recreation amenities in parks, such as tennis courts, soccer fields, basketball courts, fitness equipment and each of the City-operated golf courses must close.— City of Toronto (@cityoftoronto) April 19, 2021
More info on affected #CityofTO services: https://t.co/4qmbVctxND pic.twitter.com/30a9fqKazA
"Signage indicating guidelines for use will be posted at playgrounds and other amenities that remain open," reads the release.
But the restrictions haven't exactly been well-received by the public, especially since it's a known fact that the risk of transmission is far lower outdoors, and a petition calling on the government to reopen all outdoor ameninities has garnered more than 30,000 signatures to date.
No crowds? Sure. Safe physical distancing? Of course. No outdoor activity? Give me a break. I mean that literally; give people a break from their isolation. They need the fresh air, physical activity, and social connection. All are so crucial to making it through a pandemic 2/2— Troy Daniel Glover (@Troy_D_Glover) April 17, 2021
Still, rules are rules, and the city's coordinated enforcement team will be attending parks and the waterfront to conduct proactive inspections and take enforcement action when appropriate.
"The use of masks or face coverings outdoors is strongly recommended when using amenities that remain open or in situations where physical distancing is difficult. Masks must be worn while using washroom facilities and while waiting in lines," says the city.
"All people are urged to only visit neighbourhood parks and must socialize in-person only, even outside, with members from their own household and/or with one other person who lives alone."
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