The Ontario government has ordered the shutdown of all outdoor recreation amenities in the province as part of its response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The order is part of the provincial government’s extension of the declaration of emergency, which will now be in effect until April 13.
“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,” Premier Doug Ford wrote in a statement released Monday evening.
“We all need to work together and do our part to stop COVID-19 by staying home, practising physical distancing, and avoiding social gatherings.”
The following public and private, shared and communal amenities ordered closed include:
– Sports fields
– Basketball and tennis courts
– Off-leash dog parks
– Skateboard and BMX parks
– Picnic areas
– Community gardens
– Park shelters
– Outdoor exercise equipment
– Condo parks and gardens
– Other outdoor recreational amenities
Officials said parks, trails, ravines and conservation areas not currently closed off will stay open for walking for now. Provincial parks and conservation authorities continue to stay closed under the order.
“Individuals must maintain the safe physical distance of at least two metres apart from others,” the statement said.
Under the emergency declaration, fines can be laid for those who disobey provincial orders.
Monday’s development comes after a number of municipalities blocked off access to local playgrounds and park amenities.
As of Monday afternoon, the Ontario government said there were 1,706 cases of COVID-19 in the province. In total, 33 Ontario residents have died and 431 cases have been deemed resolved.
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