Outdoor restrictions still in place for Waterloo Region following playground reversal by province
KITCHENER -- Following the Ford government’s Saturday announcement that playgrounds would be allowed in their new regulations, many outdoor activity restrictions remain in place for Waterloo Region residents.
The tweet from Premier Doug Ford came less than 24 hours after new stay-at-home order regulations were announced on Friday.
Ontario’s enhanced restrictions were always intended to stop large gatherings where spread can happen.— Doug Ford (@fordnation) April 17, 2021
Our regulations will be amended to allow playgrounds but gatherings outside will still be enforced. Play outside safely. Parents keep your distance & wear masks if you can’t.
“If you’re in a group, it’s with the same people you live with, your household,” said Nicole Papke, director of municipal enforcement services for Waterloo. “If you are at the park and other groups are there, ensure the distance is there.”
Waterloo bylaw adds that their focus is less about enforcement and more about education and engagement.
“That’s sort of our approach with the new restrictions for the parks,” said Papke. “There will be clear signage of what you can and can’t do.”
While the ban on playgrounds has been lifted, other outdoor activity restrictions like golf still remain in place.
“We went from open with hundreds of staff to closed overnight,” said Doug Breen, regional vice-president of Golf North. “It just doesn’t make any sense to me.
“It’s just amazing how well the game is built to keep people away from each other.”
Breen adds that he thought the industry had proven to the province that the sport is safe and critical to the physical and mental well-being of its players.
University of Waterloo public health professor Zahid Butt is behind the rationale of the stricter measures meant to prevent large gatherings, but says more steps need to be taken.
“The new variants are out there, they’re trying to prevent social contact, I think this is the right step,” he said. “But we need to vaccinate those that are essential workers and provide sick leave.”