KITCHENER -- After closing several parks to deal with littering and physical distancing concerns, the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA) has reopened more amenities.

In a news release, the GRCA says it has begun to open gatehouses, beaches and some washrooms in most of its conservation areas.

“As the GRCA reopens more amenities and activities for visitors in our Grand River Parks, the health and safety of staff and the community remain our highest priority,” GRCA chair Helen Jowett said in a statement.

Last week, the agency announced the closure of several popular parks as they geared up for stage two of the province’s reopening plan.

It reopened many of them on Monday and says that Byng Island in Haldimand County will also return on Friday.

The GRCA said they had been dealing with several issues related to the large number of people who have been visiting its parks, including a large amount of waste being left behind.

“We are pleased to reopen more amenities, and while this is good news, it’s also important to remember it will not be business as usual in our parks this year,” says Jowett.

“As always, we encourage people to be responsible so that we can continue to offer an enjoyable experience for all visitors.”

Visitors who enter gatehouses or public washrooms will be required to wear a face covering as per the order put in place by the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Health Unit.

A number of amenities will also remain closed until further notice, including the Elora Quarry Conservation Area, boat canoe and kayak rentals, picnic shelters and pavilions, tubing and splash pads at Elora Gorge and the Learn to Fish program.

The agency says that swimming pools at Brant and Byng Island conservation areas and food concession stands will remain closed for the remainder of this season.

The decision to reopen some additional activities, such as overnight camping, is expected to be announced near the end of the month.