The City of Toronto has suspended several recreational programs and facilities on the recommendation of the medical officer of health, Dr. Eileen de Villa.
Effective Tuesday, Oct. 13, the city has cancelled registered and instructional programs including swimming, skating, dance, group fitness and wellness programs, hockey games and scrimmages.
“I know that the suspension of these indoor recreation programs will be frustrating for those who were looking forward to these activities. I have asked City staff to work toward developing supplementary outdoor activities that people can take part in safely this fall and winter,” said Mayor John Tory in a statement.
In response to recommendations from Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, @epdevilla, the #CityofTO is adjusting recreation programs in its recreation facilities to help stop the spread of #COVID19. News release: https://t.co/bomRi7Dy7B pic.twitter.com/7KT4hRtoT7
— City of Toronto (@cityoftoronto) October 9, 2020
Dr. de Villa recommended last week that all indoor group classes in gyms and indoor sports team activities in Toronto be discontinued in response to rising COVID-19 infections to protect the health of the city’s population.
Drop-in sports programs, table tennis, billiards, foosball and access to the City’s two conservatories have all been suspended as well.
Indoor permits for social gatherings and sport games/group fitness are cancelled.
“We are committed to protecting the health of our residents and following the public health advice. We are doing everything we can as a City government to limit the spread of COVID-19. The choices people make are critical to helping us in this effort and I want to thank the vast majority of people for continuing to follow public health advice and doing the right thing.
The programs cancelled have been deemed high-risk for COVID-19 transmission due to being indoors, where the physical nature of the activity results in close contact and where masks cannot be worn.
Leisure swim and skate, lane swimming, fitness centres, arts and general interest instruction, after-school recreation care and December camps for children are still available with capacity restrictions and health measures in place.
The City’s outdoor amenities in parks and green spaces, drop-in youth programs that do not include sports and indoor athletic training permits with no gameplay, including hockey training and permits for outdoor sports will also remain open.
“Right now, we all need to do our part to fight a surge of new COVID-19 cases in our city…our rising case counts make indoor group activities unsafe at this time,” said councillor Joe Cressy and the chair of the Toronto Board of Health.
“While I know this is disappointing news for many families, it’s important that we continue to find ways to exercise and explore our city, through alternatives outdoors where people can safely maintain physical distancing.”