City outdoor sports, parks facilities, beaches reopen with limitations

Barricades preventing access to closed Canatara Beach parking lots (BlackburnNews.com photo by Dave Dentinger)

Certain outdoor sports facilities, park amenities and beaches have reopened for limited public use under the provincial government’s latest amended pandemic orders.

The City of Sarnia said outdoor sports facilities and multi-use fields including baseball diamonds, soccer fields, Frisbee, tennis, pickleball and basketball courts, BMX parks and skate parks can be used provided physical distancing is strictly adhered to.

The city said families can enjoy publicly accessible sports amenities with members of their own household for casual play. Organized group sports that traditionally use outdoor sports amenities are still not permitted due to provincial emergency orders.

Outdoor playgrounds, play structures and equipment, fitness equipment, public swimming pools and splash pads remain closed.

The use of beaches for passive recreational activities is now allowed but beach parking lots remain closed. Again authorities said physical distancing and other pandemic protocols must be followed including limitations on groups greater than five, and frequent hand washing and sanitization. Anyone with symptoms must stay home.

The city reminds the public that the hiring of students and seasonal staff is currently suspended as a pandemic cost-saving measure.

Off-leash dog areas can be used again but the facility at Germain Park remains closed until preseason maintenance, delayed by inclement weather, has been completed. The privately-owned Blackwell Trails Off Leash Dog Park is now open as an alternative.

Citizens can use picnic tables, benches or shelters, in parks or recreational areas provided they adhere to social distancing practices. Shelters and pavilions are not currently being booked for gatherings and the use of park barbecues is not currently permitted.

The city has cancelled spring and summer programs until at least July 3, 2020 including summer camps, recreation programs, summer concerts, waterfront programming, festivals, events, and swimming lessons.

Organizations and citizens who were enrolled in a cancelled program will receive a full refund that will be issued within two weeks. Registrations and enrollment in any city programming are currently on hold.

Further information on the use of city facilities can be found here.

As well, Customer Service located in city hall will be providing marriage licence services by appointment only, effective Monday May 25, 2020.

The Town of Petrolia also announced its parks are open for more outdoor recreation.