WELLINGTON COUNTY – With the region moving to stage three of the province’s reopening plan last week, municipalities in the county are preparing to reopen local playgrounds, sports fields and other municipal facilities.
All residents, businesses and government offices are governed by the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health mandatory mask order, which still applies when residents are inside recreational facilities.
Physical distancing must also be observed, hands washed frequently, and gatherings limited to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors.
But municipalities are opening facilities to the public in their own ways, to ensure proper sanitization and other protocols are in place.
The Township of Wellington North will reopen playgrounds and sports fields on July 24 and resume hall bookings on July 31.
The walking track at the Mount Forest and District Sports Complex remains closed “and general public access to the facility, outside of prearranged bookings, will be limited,” officials say.
The township decided in May not to open its outdoor pools in Arthur and Mount Forest, but splash pads in both communities are operating seven days a week, from 10am to 8pm.
For rentals at the Damascus Hall, township officials say residents should contact the hall directly at 519-848-3120.
The Town of Erin was to open all its facilities to the public on July 22, including the administration office, recreational facilities and playgrounds, states a July 17 press release from the town.
“Thank you for your cooperation and patience during these unprecedented times and we look forward to welcoming you back into town facilities,” notes the release.
“As we transition back to allowing public access, we ask that you please be patient as there may be longer than usual lines, due to the reduced number of people allowed to enter the building.”
Officials say that to help limit the spread of the virus, staff will not be accepting cash; credit and debit cards will continue to be accepted.
Residents can also access services online and over the phone and can drop payments off at the town’s secure drop box.
For more information visit www.erin.ca or call 519-855-4407.
Centre Wellington already announced the indoor pool at the Centre Wellington Community Sportsplex in Fergus will open Aug. 4.
On July 17 the township announced that playgrounds have been reopened.
However, outdoor park amenities and playground equipment are not sanitized and uses should adhere to the following guidelines:
– maintain a physical distance of at least two metres, except for members of the same household;
– if physical distancing cannot be maintained, return another time;
– wash and/or sanitize hands often and after play; and
– practise good cough etiquette.
On July 17, Minto reopened playgrounds and resumed booking requests for recreational facilities. The town planned to reopen its municipal office and the LaunchIt Minto building on July 22 and to return to in-person council meetings beginning next month.
“The Town of Minto continues to keep public safety as top priority during the unique circumstances surrounding COVID-19,” states a July 20 press release from the town.
Minto staff has “installed Plexiglass guards at the front desk, hand sanitizer dispensers in multiple locations, and implemented various other health and safety measures to ensure the health of our staff and residents,” states the town release.
Minto will be returning to live public council meetings next month, rotating them between the town’s three community complexes to ensure distancing requirements can be met.
Meetings will be held in Clifford in August, Harriston in September and Palmerston in October.
Mapleton township opened playgrounds on July 17 and township facilities on July 20. This includes the township administrative office, PMD Arena in Drayton, the Moorefield Community Centre and the Moorefield Optimist Hall.
The township is also accepting bookings for ball diamonds, soccer fields and the community centres and halls in the municipality.
Officials throughout Wellington County are reminding residents that all visitors, events and gatherings are subject to provincial and public health guidelines, including requirements for physical distancing and face coverings. In addition:
– do not enter/use any facilities if you are sick;
– clean hands before and after using equipment; and
– minimize physical contact between children.