THE COUNTY, Ontario – The United Counties of SDG and its member municipalities are reminding residents and visitors to follow COVID-19 protocols when attending beaches, pools and splash pads this summer.
As municipal pools, beaches and splash pads are allowed to open for the summer, staff from municipalities within SDG will be monitoring the numbers and practices of individuals accessing these amenities, in some cases, to ensure protocols like social distancing are being followed. Individuals are being relied upon to ensure they take an active role in distancing themselves from others and following rules around COVID-19 mitigation. Please check the websites of the municipality where you live, or plan to visit, for up-to-date information.
Municipalities may have different staffing levels at these facilities, so it is important that residents and visitors alike make an effort to follow these rules themselves.
The alternative could be the closure of specific municipal amenities by individual townships if it becomes clear that protocols are not being followed. In some cases, municipalities have already made the difficult decision to shutter amenities for the season.
“Closure is not the tack townships and municipalities want to take,” said Warden Frank Prevost. “But the reality is the pandemic is not over. We must remain vigilant to avoid future outbreaks and a return to the economic lockdown we are now slowly rolling back.”
Signage will be posted at amenities throughout the region detailing specific rules that must be followed. The risk of COVID-19 transmission through swimming in natural bodies of water is believed to be quite low; but there is an increased risk of person-to-person transmission when a minimum of two metres radius of physical distancing is not observed. There is also a considerable risk of COVID-19 transmission via surfaces; therefore, it is imperative to avoid the use of common surfaces as much as reasonably possible and to practise hand hygiene frequently. It is mandatory to use beaches in accordance with the provincial emergency legislation and with the Eastern Ontario Health Unit advice on public health measures.
More information on using beaches, pools and splash pads during this unprecedented time can be found at eohu.ca/en/covid/guidelines-for-the-reopening-of-public-waterfronts-and-beaches.