City opens parks to ‘limited use’

Special to WC Online

OTTAWA – The City of Ottawa has decided to re-open its parks, but to limited use.

“The city, in consultation with Ottawa Public Health (OPH), is advising the limited use of some spaces in city parks and beaches is now permitted,” city staff released in a a statement today (May 6). “This does not include the use of sports fields and courts.”

 Effective immediately, individuals and families can enjoy fresh air and some outdoor activities in city parks. Everyone must also comply with current prohibitions under the Provincial Emergency Orders, including the prohibition on organized public events, gatherings of more than five people, and entry to and use of certain outdoor recreational amenities.

“Allowing access to our City parks green spaces is welcome news to many of our residents – especially those with young children and those living in apartments,” Mayor Jim Watson said. “It’s been almost nine weeks where the only outdoor escape involved back and front yards – for those who have them – and going for walks on residential streets. While we are far from returning to normal, people can now escape the confines of the indoors and their properties to enjoy some much-needed fresh air and activity.”

OPH continues to advise limiting activities to members of your own household remains important to limit the spread of COVID-19 and save lives, and physical distancing of at least two metres from non-household members be maintained during these activities.

“While we are seeing some positive trends in the spread of COVID-19 in our community, we still cannot fully reopen our park facilities at this time,” Community and Protective Services committee chair, Kanata North Coun. Jenna Sudds said. “But allowing residents and families some access to our open green space is important for their overall physical and mental health. I thank all our residents and our youth for their patience and resolve, as we continue to pull together and do our part to help limit the spread and save lives.”

Examples of permitted activities for individuals in groups of up to five people or members from the same household include:

  • Playing catch, kicking a soccer ball and throwing a football
  • Flying a kite
  • Sitting on a blanket, grass or lawn chair
  • Exercising and stretching on a yoga mat, but not in a class
  • Letting young children run and burn off some energy

If you are not with members of your own family, the Provincial Orders continue to restrict events and gatherings of more than five people and continue to prohibit the entry onto or use of all sports fields and courts (e.g.: football and soccer fields, ball diamonds, tennis courts and basketball courts), BMX and skate/board parks, all play structures and playgrounds, swings, benches, picnic tables, shelters, and off-leash dog areas.

In addition, prohibited park use extends to all organized sporting activities and training, such as football, softball, ball hockey, soccer, ultimate frisbee and basketball – even if they are not being played on a court or sports field, as these activities do not allow for proper physical distancing.

Also in accordance with the Provincial Orders, boat launches in parks remain closed and seasonal docks will not yet been installed. Launching any form of watercraft from any City park or beach remains prohibited for canoeists, kayakers and other watercraft enthusiasts.

For up-to-date information on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, visit or call 3-1-1 (TTY: 613-580-9656).

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