Playground closures across our region due to COVID-19

The City of Barrie continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by increasing precautionary measures to combat the spread of the virus and encourage social distancing.

In consultation with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, effective immediately, all City of Barrie municipal playground equipment and waterfront fitness equipment will be closed to public access. Signs are being installed today in all the parks with playgrounds and the fitness equipment along the waterfront trail.

The City of Orillia has also closed their playgrounds.  “With the health and safety of our citizens in mind, we will be proactive in assessing the COVID-19 pandemic and taking necessary precautions to help prevent its spread. We want to encourage safe recreational activities, but because we are unable to sanitize public playground equipment, it has been determined to close public access to the playgrounds. Although, children should be able to handle the COVID-19 virus themselves, it is by that ability they can also be perfect transmitters of the virus to others including, perhaps, our most vulnerable,” said Orillia Mayor Steve Clarke.

The City of Orillia requires that local school boards and private property owners follow the City’s leadership and close public access to their playgrounds.

In Barrie the dog off-leash parks remain open at this time. However, signage is being placed at both sites reminding visitors to use extra precaution during this time.

These measures are in place because the equipment cannot be regularly sanitized and will further promote social distancing as recommended by Public Health. The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit recommends that while outside you make sure to avoid crowds and maintain a distance of 2 metres (6 feet) from those around you. This is a serious situation and we need to all come together to adhere to the direction from public health.

Cover photo:Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán

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