Stay-at-home order, imposed on April 8 for 4 weeks, now extended until May 20

Muriel Draaisma · CBC News · Posted: Apr 17, 2021 4:51 PM ET | Last Updated: April 18

New restrictions are now in place that limit what people can and cannot do in Ontario as the province tries to curb a rising number of COVID-19 cases. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

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Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced new public health measures on Friday that tighten the stay-at-home order already in place and include new restrictions on travel between provinces.

The stay-at-home order, first imposed on April 8 for four weeks, will now be extended until May 20.

According to the provincial government, the new measures are intended to curb the rising number of COVID-19 cases as the third wave of the pandemic continues.

All of that means there are new limits on what residents can and cannot do. Here are some answers to questions you might have.

Can I go for a walk?

Yes. In its regulations, the government says: “An outdoor recreational amenity that is a park or recreational area may be open for the purposes of permitting persons to walk through the park or recreational area.”

Can I go for a walk with a friend?

This question is trickier.

The government says in its regulations that any person who uses outdoor parks and recreational areas, off-leash dog areas, or benches in parks and recreational areas “shall maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from any other person who is also using the amenity, other than a person who is a member of the same household, a member of one other household who lives alone or a caregiver for any member of either household.”

Can I gather with people outside of my household?

No, unless you live alone, and then you can gather with only one other household. The province said in a news release on Friday that it has prohibited “all outdoor social gatherings and organized public events, except for with members of the same household or one other person from outside that household who lives alone or a caregiver for any member of the household.”

Can I take my dog to an off-leash park?

Yes. But you have to maintain a two-metre distance from anyone who is not a member of your household and who is not a caregiver of a member of your household.

Can my children play at a playground?

Initially, the province said all outdoor playgrounds, play structures and equipment were not to be used, but in a tweet on Saturday afternoon, Ford said the government will roll back restrictions on playgrounds to allow their use.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&features=eyJ0ZndfZXhwZXJpbWVudHNfY29va2llX2V4cGlyYXRpb24iOnsiYnVja2V0IjoxMjA5NjAwLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X2hvcml6b25fdHdlZXRfZW1iZWRfOTU1NSI6eyJidWNrZXQiOiJodGUiLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfX0%3D&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1383498997092941834&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cbc.ca%2Fnews%2Fcanada%2Ftoronto%2Fontario-restrictions-what-you-can-what-you-cannot-do-1.5991941&sessionId=cdd34e163bc73ce3a92315cba806180693765b80&siteScreenName=cbc&theme=light&widgetsVersion=ff2e7cf%3A1618526400629&width=550px

Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease specialist based at Toronto General Hospital, said Saturday that the province should be encouraging people to go outside. Bogoch is also a member of Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution task force.

“It’s good for physical health. It’s good for mental health, especially with all the other horrible things that are going on in the middle of the third wave. Being outdoors is probably one of the best things you can do,” Bogoch said.

“It’s pretty clear that the outdoors is probably the safest place you could be during the course of the pandemic. We know that the risk of transmission outdoors is not zero per cent, but it’s getting close. It’s really, really low risk.”

Ontario Premier Doug Ford said on Saturday that the government will roll back restrictions on playgrounds to allow their use. (CBC)

The now-amended rules around playground use resulted in a tense situation for one Ottawa woman, who told CBC News she was threatened with a call to the police on Saturday morning by a stranger.

Simmi Dixit said she was walking through a park with her partner and young daughter when a man said he’d call the police on them because they were not allowed to be there. Dixit said they were not touching any outdoor amenities when they were confronted.

“People are at a point where they’re starting to emotionally break,” Dixit told CBC News.

“I think the narrative of fear that we’re hearing around COVID is affecting the way people judge themselves in these situations. We’re perceiving each other as threats instead of looking to each other for strength and support.”

Can I play golf on a golf course?

No. 

Can I play tennis and basketball at a court?

No. And you cannot use any amenities such as those for platform tennis, table tennis and pickleball courts.

Can I play baseball at a diamond?

No.

Can I enjoy a skate park or a BMX park?

No. And you can’t play Frisbee golf at such a location either.

Can I have a picnic at a picnic table?

No, you can’t. A picnic table is considered an outdoor amenity.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/ontario-restrictions-what-you-can-what-you-cannot-do-1.5991941

OTC President, Terri LeRoux, Ontario Rep to CTF talks to importance of trails, activity and parks during COVID

How Ontario’s parks became pandemic lifesavers

BY MORGAN LIGHTLE
APRIL 18, 2021

It’s Saturday, March 20. It’s not only the first day of spring, but the first warm sunny day after a long pandemic winter. 

Cullum McConnell and his nephews, Ray, 8, and Frank, 6, enjoy the day skateboarding at Toronto’s Cedarvale Park. Beginners Ray and Frank happily skate around the dry splash pad as Cullum demonstrates some basic flips.

Cullum McConnell and his nephews Ray, 8, and Frankie, 6, enjoy skateboarding at Cedarvale Park in Toronto on March 20, 2021. MORGAN LIGHTLE/TORONTO OBSERVER 

“It’s a nice park to have close by,” said Cullum, a teacher. 

Located in Toronto’s west end between St. Clair Avenue and Eglinton Avenue, Cedarvale Park has extensive green space, along with athletic fields, a dog park, a splash pad, and deep cricket pitch. A trail also crosses through the forested ravine. 

“I go running here,” said Cullum. “Sometimes, the kids ride their bikes through here, they like to watch dogs at the dog park, play baseball in the field, or go tobogganing in the winter. It’s got lots of facilities that we all make use of, and the park’s been used much more during the pandemic.”

He’s right about Cedarvale Park’s busyness. Several passerby on the paved pathway, a father and son play at a nearby tennis table, and friends and families grouped together on the distant grass. 

Parks have offered people a relief from the COVID-19 pandemic’s stay-at-home orders. They have become essential and popular spaces for activity, entertainment and social connection. Park use is up — and it’s up a lot.

Adri Stark of Park People explains the increased use of Toronto’s parks:

Google has maintained a COVID-19 Mobility Report since Feb. 17 of last year, collecting mobility data from the location history of people’s phones and comparing it to pre-pandemic numbers. On the weekend of March 20, Google reported that park use was 30 per cent above pre-pandemic numbers in Canada. And last summer, Canadian park visits regularly got over 100 per cent above pre-pandemic levels peaking at 179 per cent.

Park People also conducted a COVID-19 parks survey that found 55 per cent of Canadian cities recorded increased park usage; coinciding with Toronto’s increase. The organization, which supports and mobilizes local groups and cities to realize the power of parks, acquired this data from 1,600 questionnaire responses distributed to park staff, city officials, and park visitors last June.

People gathering and enjoying spring weather at the Christie Pits Park in Toronto on March 21, 2021. MORGAN LIGHTLE/TORONTO OBSERVER 

“The pandemic has led people to parks, trails, and natural spaces like never before,” Terri LeRoux, a senior manager in PARCS (Property, Assets, Recreation and Conservation Areas) at the Credit Valley Conservation Authority, said in an email. “There remains a sense of normalcy and calmness at our parks and conservation areas.”

This growth in visiting parks and conservation areas is matched by an increase in gratitude for green space. Park People’s survey found that 70 per cent of people had developed a greater appreciation of parks during the pandemic.

According to Park People, 70 per cent of Canadians report their appreciation of parks and green spaces has grown during the COVID-19 pandemic. GRAPHIC BY MORGAN LIGHTLE. 

“I find I appreciate park space more in light of the pandemic and utilize it more than I otherwise would,” said Mike Burekas as he and his partner Anastasya Kurivean waited in line to use Cedarvale Park’s tennis courts.

They don’t ordinarily play tennis but decided to try it out because of the nice spring weather.

“It’s a beautiful park,” Burekas said. “It’s green space and nice to escape to. She lives in a condo and I live in an apartment, we don’t have yards and this is a nice open space.”

The closure of indoor recreation centres and gyms means outdoor spaces are a great venue for activities. The lockdown led some people to discover and learn new outdoor hobbies. For instance, Annette and David Carnucci tried cross country skiing. 

Annette & David Cornucci cross-country skiing at Wasaga Beach Provincial Park in winter 2021. PHOTO COURTESY ANNETTE CORNUCCI. 

“We usually downhill ski, but Blue Mountain was closed,” said Annette in a Zoom interview from her and David’s home in Collingwood, Ont. “I had the opportunity to borrow my friend’s skate skis and take advantage of it at Wasaga Beach Provincial Park.”

Closed recreation stores meant David couldn’t invest in new skiing equipment, so he borrowed skis, going so far as to wear extra socks so the boots could fit.

“We improvised, but we’re having fun learning something different.”

—David Cornucci

On a sunny March 21, a group of music students from Humber College played jazz for a large, well-spaced audience at Christie Pits Park, near the intersection of Bloor Street West and Christie Street. 

“This specific thing is mostly thrown together,” said Nick Marshall, the group’s trombonist. “It’s whoever can come. We mostly call tunes, we don’t rehearse, and we play tunes we all know and work out on the bandstand.”

Welland’s Parks and Trails

WELLAND TAKES 15TH SPOT IN MACLEAN’S MAGAZINE’S ‘CANADA’S BEST COMMUNITIES’

SHELBY KNOX Tuesday, April 13th 2021 – 12:52 pm Newstalk 610

Welland is getting some high praise after being listed among Maclean’s magazine’s ‘Canada’s Best Communities.’

Maclean’s lists Welland as number 15 in their 2021 ranking of the best places to live in the country.

Some of the factors considered include affordability, population growth, taxes, crime, the weather, and internet access.

Mayor Frank Campion says, “We excel in amenities.  It is one of the reasons people come here, there are parks and trails across the city for residents and visitors.”

Read the article

An Ontario Trails/Frank Cowan Company Webinar – “Covid-19 Research on Trails and Outdoor Recreation: What We’ve Learned so Far”

Hoping you would be able to attend this important webinar!
As we all deal with aspects of COVID-19, an understanding of its impacts on trails and trail use should help all of us plan and manage our trails throughout this pandemic.

Please consider attending.

To register go to:
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/covid-19-research-on-trails-and-outdoor-recreation-what-weve-learned-so-f-tickets-118001199765

Just select the tickets button and you will be redirected.

OTC Membership up for renewal?

Please renew to take advantage of your free ticket for this and other webinars. 

We have another webinar on October 22 – Greenway Trail Networks – Combining Recreation and Nature.

https://www.ontariotrails.on.ca/support/join

Thanks

Toronto explorer successfully kayaks the length of Lake Ontario in 20 days

Mario Rigby has also trekked across Africa on foot and kayak and cycled across Canada

Ania Bessonov · CBC News · Posted: Aug 09, 2020

Toronto explorer Mario Rigby successfully wrapped up a 20-day trip on Thursday kayaking the length of Lake Ontario.

“Every year I try to do a big challenge,” said Rigby, who has an extraordinary resumé of adventures he’s done, including cycling across Canada from B.C. to Newfoundland and crossing Africa, from South Africa to Egypt, by foot and kayak.

“I want[ed] to kayak all of the Great Lakes, but I didn’t have the timeline,” he explained. So he opted for Lake Ontario. “It’s local, it’s home, and I [thought I could] probably do it in less than a month.”

Read the Article

Looking for something to do around Midland this summer? Here are five family-friendly activities – Simcoe.com

Looking for something to do around Midland this summer? Here are five family-friendly activities

1. Grab an ice cream cone at the Dockside Ice Cream Hut — Enjoy a delicious ice cream come at the Dockside Ice Cream Hut, located adjacent to the Boathouse Eatery at the Midland town dock. The hut is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week.

2. Spend some time at Midland’s Little Lake Park — This expansive picturesque park in the centre of town is built around a manmade lake. The park has a large beach, picnic shelters, a pavilion, several ball diamonds, a beach volleyball court, washrooms and Tony’s Restaurant.

3. Cycle or walk the Great Trail — Previously known as the Trans Canada Trail, the Great Trail runs through Tay Township, Midland and Penetanguishene. The trail runs along the shores of Georgian Bay and offers a variety of scenic lookouts onto the bay.

Read the Full Article

Cyclists find physical distance heaven at Hardwood – BarrieToday.com

This summer, local mountain bike riders are missing one of their favourite weekly events – the popular Wednesday Night Bike Race series – which has taken place at Hardwood Ski and Bike in Oro-Medonte for the past 25 years.

“This is the first time we’ve had to cancel,” said Arienne Strong, program manager at Hardwood, which is located north of Barrie on Old Barrie Road. “Cancellation of this event is especially tough because the series is like having a family reunion every week – kids, families, competitive team members – everyone comes together for the races. It’s exciting and fun and something we all look forward to so much.”

The decision to cancel this year’s series, which involves an average of 180 riders at each of the events held over the 18-week season, was made in May as a result of COVID-19 restrictions and an announcement by Cycling Canada and the Ontario Cycling Association to cancel all events up until August 2020.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE