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COVID-related restrictions affect city recreational facilities

The City of Greater Sudbury has outlined the various ways in which the province’s move into a modified Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen will affect municipal facilities
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Adanac Ski Hill. (File)

Some City of Greater Sudbury facilities have closed while others have been adjusted to accommodate the latest round of COVID-related rules brought on by the province.

However, there are still a number of opportunities to help people keep fit and have fun.

“Outdoor recreation amenities like parks, outdoor rinks, the Queens Athletic Skating Oval, they’re all open,” city recreation co-ordinator Renee Germain said. “You attend, you maintain a physical distance of at least two meters from anyone using the facility.”

The Ramsey Lake Skating Path will open as soon as between 12 and 15 inches of ice is maintained, which is expected to be by mid-January to early February.

The use of masks will be encouraged at these outdoor facilities and mandated alongside proof of vaccination for all indoor facilities.

Pools, fitness centres and indoor arenas will be closed until at least Jan. 27, as per various health rules announced by the province on Monday

These closures should make outdoor recreational opportunities even more popular than usual this season, Germain said. 

“At the very least, we want people to get outside and get some fresh air, and to be safe while doing so,” she said, adding that COVID rule enforcement shouldn’t be a problem. 

“People are just really eager to get outside, so I would say they’re masking up, they’re keeping their distance and keeping each other safe.”

There were no staff layoffs during this round of closures, with some redeployed to essential service areas and others charged with ensuring people are following the COVID rules.

As with past rounds of COVID rules mandated by either the province or municipality, the city’s bylaw department achieves compliance through education in the vast majority of cases. 

Capacity limits at certain places, such as the Adanac Ski Hill, will be easy to maintain, Germain said, as tickets are sold in advance. 

“We have a ton of signage around the ski hill, so just as a reminder to follow the modified steps to health measures.”

The city will continue following whatever Public Health measures come into play, Germain said, with the earliest potential changes in rules expected on Jan. 28. 

In the meantime, she said there are plenty of ways for people to get their hearts pumping.

“Any opportunity that you have to get outside, even if it’s just for a walk around the block to clear your head and get your blood flowing, we definitely encourage that.”

In a release issued by the city this week, Mayor Brian Bigger reminded residents that these measures are a means of reducing virus transmission in the community and to relieve mounting pressures on the local health-care system. 

“We must continue to make smart choices -- minimize outings to what’s essential, work from home where we can and get vaccinated. I know this is a difficult time for everyone, but these measures are necessary to stop the spread of COVID-19.”

The following is a rundown of how municipal facilities have been affected.

Arenas

Arenas will be closed and all ice bookings and public skating programs will be cancelled until Jan. 27.  New January dates are not being booked at this time.

Staff are reviewing and adjusting ice booking contracts to reflect these cancellations, and details will be emailed once changes are complete. A credit for future bookings will be applied to the accounts of those who paid for ice within this timeframe.

Individual/family skate – a full refund will be issued to the credit card on the account. Those who booked ice with a different method of payment (e.g. debit, cash or cheque) are asked to email [email protected].

All existing registrations for Parents & Tots, Adults, or All Ages Public Skating have been cancelled.

Carmichael Arena, Azilda Arena and Garson Arena remain in use as vaccination clinics.

For more information, visit greatersudbury.ca/play/arenas.

Pools and Fitness Centres

All pool and fitness centres are closed until Jan. 27.

Memberships are being extended, and individuals will be able to rebook as of Jan. 28.

More detailed information about memberships and beginning programs again will be shared in the coming weeks.

Facility staff will contact registrants in the coming days to discuss their options. Anyone who has not received a phone call about their program status by Jan. 6 can email [email protected].

For more information, visit greatersudbury.ca/play/pools and greatersudbury.ca/play/fitness-centres.

Outdoor Recreational Amenities

Outdoor recreational facilities are still open for use at a 50-per-cent capacity limit. When using any outdoor facility, users must maintain a distance of two metres from people who are not part of their household. A mask or face covering is required when physical distancing is a challenge. Benches, waste bins, gates, handrails and other surfaces are not sanitized.

While ski hills are open at a 50-per-cent capacity limit, all ski and snowboard programs for January will not be available.

In order to enter washrooms, change rooms and field houses, people will need to wear a mask, complete active screening, provide contact tracing information, show proof of vaccination and distance from others.

Other City Services

Libraries and Citizen Service Centres are open for in-person services, with capacity limits reduced to 50 per cent. Computer access will be available with a two-hour limit per person per day. Computer stations will be limited to maintain distancing. Meeting rooms are not available for booking, and community programs continue to be offered online only.

Curbside service will remain available upon request. Residents who require Citizen Service Centre services are encouraged to call ahead and may be asked to make an appointment for some services. For more information, visit sudburylibraries.ca/covid-19-update.

Services at Tom Davies Square remain available by appointment. Contact 311 by phone or Live Web Chat (311.greatersudbury.ca) to make an appointment or discuss alternate service. Many services are available by telephone or through the Customer Service Portal at 311.greatersudbury.ca.

The Greater Sudbury Animal Shelter continues to accept visitors for animal adoption or surrender by appointment only. Contact 311 to make an appointment.

Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for Sudbury.com.


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Tyler Clarke

About the Author: Tyler Clarke

Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for Sudbury.com.
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