We encourage the community to get outdoors and enjoy the beautiful parks, beaches and trails the City has to offer, however it remains imperative that citizens do not treat these spaces as destinations and avoid congregating or gatherings. It is also extremely important to keep in mind the orders and directives that remain in place, such as the requirement to maintain physical distancing, proper hand hygiene, and not gathering in groups larger than 5 people.
We recognize and thank citizens, tasked with the significant responsibility of protecting one another in the community. We appreciate everyone’s efforts, and together we will continue to help limit the spread of COVID -19 in our community.
City Council has made some difficult and fiscally responsible decisions to date, including but not limited to delaying or cancelling non-essential projects and not hiring summer students and seasonal staff. As a result, some seasonal programs may be cancelled and/or not operating as usual. City staff continue to work hard to maintain public spaces and amenities to the best of our abilities with limited resources.
The Ontario Government has issued its latest order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, has amended restrictions.
Any person who uses any of the following facilities shall ensure that they maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from any other person who is also using the facility:
- Outdoor sports amenities
- Off-leash dog areas
- Picnic sites, benches or shelters in parks or recreational areas
“Outdoor sports amenities” that are able to be used include: outdoor sports facilities and multi-use fields, including baseball diamonds, soccer fields, Frisbee, tennis, pickle ball and basketball courts, BMX parks and skate parks.
If outdoor sports amenities are used, they are to be used at resident’s own risk.
With the opening of outdoor sports amenities, such as soccer fields, families can enjoy publicly accessible sports amenities with members of their own household for casual play. Organized group sports that traditionally utilize outdoor sports amenities are still not permitted due to Provincial Emergency Orders.
As a result of the City’s COVID-19 Cost Mitigation Strategies (found on page 7), student and seasonal staff hiring is currently suspended. As a result, the City’s ability to reopen and maintain certain outdoor sports amenities has been impacted.
Further, as per the Provincial Emergency Orders, the following outdoor recreational amenities remain closed:
- Outdoor playgrounds
- Play structures and equipment
- Fitness equipment
- Public swimming pools and splash pads
Signage is posted throughout the parks as a reminder of said closures. Parking lots associated to beaches also remain closed.
Using public outdoor spaces and beaches for passive recreational activities is permitted, provided that users adhere to physical distancing measures and guidelines:
- Maintain 2-meter physical distancing
- Do not congregate in groups greater than 5
- Frequent washing/sanitization of hands
- Staying home if displaying symptoms
Community Tennis & Pickleball Courts: Courts located at Germain Park, Cathcart Park, Kenwick Park, Tecumseh and Linden Park will be Open for single use Tennis play. The Blackwell Park Pickleball Hub is open for single use play between the hours of 8:30am – 3:00pm daily. Signage will be in place at each facility.
Basketball Courts: Basketball courts at Newton, Norma Cox Youth Centre – Tecumseh Park and Baxter Park are available for use. Please use basketball facilities for an individual activity.
Off Leash Dog Parks: The City’s Off Leash Dog Park in Germain Park remains closed and will be opening upon completion of preseason maintenance, which has been delayed due to inclement weather. For those who wish to seek an alternative, the privately owned Blackwell Trails Off Leash Dog Park is now open.
Outdoor Furniture: Citizens can use picnic tables, benches or shelters, in parks or recreational areas provided that users adhere to physical distancing measures. Shelters and pavilions are not currently being booked for gatherings. Use of park barbecues is not currently permitted.
At least until July 3, 2020, the City of Sarnia has cancelled spring and summer programs. This includes activities outlined in the Summer Activity Guide such as summer camps, recreation programs, summer concerts, waterfront programming, festivals, events, and swimming lessons.
As restrictions from the Province and Public Health are lifted, the City may implement a redesigned or modified program where possible.
Organizations and citizens who were enrolled in a cancelled program will receive a full refund. Refunds will be issued within 2 weeks. Registration’s and enrollment within any City programming is currently on hold.
Two park washrooms are open, 8:00am – 3:30pm, seven days a week, at Centennial Park Agora and the Canatara Children’s Animal Farm.
Additional washrooms and water fountains are not yet opened.
Keeping recreational facilities open and safe for citizens, while respecting provincial orders and public health guidelines is a shared responsibility. We all have a role to play in slowing the spread of COVID-19.