THUNDER BAY - The province of Ontario is extending its declaration of emergency and closing all outdoor recreational areas to the public in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.
In a release issued late Monday evening, the province announced a new emergency order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act to close all outdoor recreational amenities effective immediately.
The order will see parks, playgrounds, sports fields, basketball and tennis courts, off-leash dog parks, beaches, skateboard and BMX parks, picnic areas, community gardens, condo parks, and other outdoor recreational amenities closed to the public.
Green spaces in parks and trail areas will remain open but the public is being reminded to practice proper social distancing. All provincial parks and conservation areas also remain closed.
“I made a commitment to be open and upfront about what we need to do as a province to beat this virus," said Premier Doug Ford. "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. 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 province is also extending its declaration of emergency implemented on March 17, which included orders closing all non-essential businesses, prohibiting social gatherings greater than five people, and implementing off-peak electricity pricing.
The order will be extended until April 13, 2020.
“We are acting on the best advice of our Chief Medical Officer of Health and other leading public health officials across the province" said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. "We will continue to take decisive action to stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect Ontarians' health and wellbeing.”