The Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake will advance into Stage 2 of provincial recovery this Friday.
However the town will remain under a state of emergency because “COVID-19 remains a very real threat to the Niagara-on-the-Lake community at large,” Lord Mayor Betty Disero said in a media release.
Disero said though “we seem to be heading in a positive direction,” the town will continue to exercise caution while embracing recovery measures being rolled out by the province.
Following Premier Doug Ford’s announcement on Tuesday, town staff announced its plan to begin reopening community, recreational and outdoor spaces in accordance with the provincial COVID-19 recovery plan.
The provincial plan states indoor and outdoor swimming pools and outdoor splash pads and wading pools may open to the public. Access to “high-contact” features such as slides and climbing structures must remain closed for Stage 2.
Outdoor-only recreational facilities that operate low-contact attractions and activities will be allowed to reopen, but playgrounds and structures will remain closed.
Firm dates for the reopening of municipal buildings, pool and splash pad in NOTL have not yet been determined however, interim CAO Sheldon Randall said in the media statement.
“Thrilled as we are to embrace additional recovery measures, we must proceed in a methodical manner, ensuring all safety requirements (such as physical distancing and sanitation measures) are followed to protect the health of the community,” Randall said.
“Especially in the warmer season, we would hate for COVID-19 case numbers to spike and to see closures, cancellations and isolation measures reinstated,” he said.
Stage 2 of the provincial plan permits for the reopening of restaurant patios, following strict social distancing and sanitation requirements.
“Town staff have been working with restaurant owners to accommodate patio extensions permitted within Stage 2,” the statement said.
Details on acquiring patio extension permission were released Tuesday.
The Town also announced the continuation of its summer day camp program with new requirements and regulations in place to adhere to the provincial framework.
The summer camp program will be limited to three “camp cohorts,” stationed at the NOTL Community Centre and Virgil Centennial Arena, which will include eight campers and two staff members per cohort.
As the economy begins to reopen gradually, Disero said “we encourage everyone to shop local and support Niagara-on-the-Lake businesses, while staying safe.”
“Please stay away from crowds, keep your distance (6 feet/2 metres), and wash your hands often. If you’re unable to maintain physical distance, please wear a mask. Let's experience all that Niagara-on-the-Lake has to offer together, in a safe way.”