What does Stage 3 reopening mean?
This week, the Province of Ontario announced that Ottawa would be entering Stage 3 of the pandemic reopening process. In order for this to be successful, it is important that we maintain physical distancing, as well as wear our masks in indoor public places.
But what does this ultimately mean for Ottawa residents?
On Friday, July 17, all park play structures and equipment are reopening, and relaxing the restrictions on facility, sports field, and ball diamond rentals for organized sports play and practices, as part of the Province’s Stage 3 reopening framework. The City will continue to examine the path forward this summer for resuming other recreation and cultural programming.
In addition, the City, in consultation with Ottawa Public Health (OPH), is reviewing information from Monday’s provincial announcement and conducting a thorough assessment of operational requirements. Staff redeployments, facility retrofits, demand for services, and financial feasibility are all being examined. Information on the resumption of additional services and facility reopenings will be announced in the coming weeks as they are finalized.
Park play structures and equipment
Outdoor and indoor facility rentals
The City has cancelled all existing July indoor rental agreements for events, meetings, and community activities. Staff are reaching out to August rental contract holders to advise them that all indoor events for more than 50 people will be cancelled. However, the City will consider rental requests in August for up to 50 people on a case-by-case basis. These rentals would need to adhere to physical distancing guidelines and the City’s mandatory mask by-law.
Recreation and cultural programming and facilities
Indoor and outdoor pools have already reopened for public and lane swimming by reservation. You can now book using the new online reservation system. Also, weekly modified swimming lessons will begin on Monday, July 20. Online registration is open now. You can find information on this at https://ottawa.ca/en/recreation-and-parks/swimming#reserve-your-spot-public-and-lane-swims.
Municipal childcare centres
To help limit the spread of COVID-19 and prepare for Stage 3 of the provincial reopening plan, City Council approved a temporary by-law to make masks mandatory in indoor public spaces. This includes restaurants, stores, places of worship, sports facilities, community venues, hotel lobbies and the public areas of City and health facilities.
Masks continue to be required on transit and transit property. Residents are encouraged to continue practicing physical distancing, wash their hands frequently and stay home when sick.
Masks are not required for young children, people with medical conditions and disabilities that prevent them from safely wearing a mask, and people who can’t put on or remove their mask without assistance. More information is available on ottawapublichealth.ca/masks.
Operators of these spaces are required to inform patrons of the new mask requirement verbally and with proper signs at all public entrances and in common areas of indoor spaces. If a patron refuses to wear a mask and is not exempted, the operator can contact the City for assistance. By-law officers will primarily focus on educating residents about masks. If further action is required, there may be charges with fines.
The by-law will be in place until Council’s next meeting on Wednesday, August 26, when it could be extended if warranted.
It is also important that we remain #CovidKind. Some residents are unable to wear masks due to existing medical health issues. While we must all remain vigilant and work to prevent new infections, it is important that we also acknowledge those with existing medical conditions that are themselves trying to navigate these new measures.
For more updates on what is happening in Innes Ward, as well as updates on COVID-19, please visit my website LauraDudas.ca.