COVID-19: Masks will be mandatory on Ottawa’s playgrounds, some young children excluded – Ottawa

Families using play equipment in Ottawa will demand masks from Wednesday, the latest twist in a back-and-forth saga over whether such outdoor facilities can remain open amid the third wave of COVID-19 in Ontario.

Dr. Vera Etches, Ottawa’s health worker, enacted the new ordinance through a Section 22 ordinance under the province’s health protection and promotion law on Monday.

From Wednesday at 12:01 p.m., persons within five feet of play structures, swings, slides, climbers, and sandboxes in Ottawa parks must wear masks.

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Children under the age of two or those under the age of five developmentally who cannot be persuaded to wear a mask by their caregiver are exempt from the injunction.

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Ottawa Public Health officials first signaled last week that similar measures would likely come to outdoor facilities such as playground equipment, but those plans were put on hold after Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced extensive restrictions Friday that included closing all play structures during the province’s residency. to -home order.

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COVID-19: New restrictions come into force in Ontario

COVID-19: New restrictions take effect in Ontario – April 17, 2021

Ford went back the closure of park equipment as early as the next day after a riot from the Ontarians.

Other outdoor recreation areas, such as public sports courts, ball diamonds, basketball, tennis and pickleball courts, as well as skate and bicycle parks remain closed under the province’s mandate.

Parks are otherwise open for the use of pedestrians, runners and cyclists. Benches and dog parks without leashes also remain open.

OPH reminds residents to keep two meters away from others in parks unless they are members of the same household – this also applies to children who use play equipment.

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Social gatherings are also prohibited under the provincial order.

But Ottawa officials are afraid to use enforcement to promote public health measures, according to a joint statement from OPH, police and statutory services released Monday.

Ford’s initial announcement on Friday included new police powers to allow officers to stop residents and question them about where they live and where they are going. The move was quickly called a transgression by many in Ontario and was subsequently withdrawn the next day to focus on individuals believed to be attending large gatherings.

Police, statutes and OPH said in their statement that they have identified these concerns in their approach to enforcing new rules.

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“We have heard many voices in the community express concern about these new measures, both in terms of their needs and applicability. The concerns raised by racist and marginalized communities are top of mind,” they said.

They said that “gross violations of public health” could be covered by enforcing existing restrictions, adding that new police management of residents’ behavior “could create challenges in complying with public health orders and could in fact put back COVID-19 controls.”

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On the contrary, authorities will be better placed to focus on “encouraging, sharing information and raising awareness” to promote public health and other measures aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19 in Ottawa, they said.

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Question Time in the Ontario Legislative Assembly dominated by outrage over provincial restrictions

Questionnaire by Legislature in Ontario Dominated by Fury Over Provincial Restrictions – April 19, 2021

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