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Sep. 21, 2021 | Tuesday
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NOTL reopens some outdoor recreational facilities
Neighbourhood kids play basketball in Niagara on the Green last year. Some outdoor facilities will reopen Saturday. (File/Richard Harley)

With the provincial announcement Thursday easing restrictions on some outdoor activities, the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake is gearing up to reopen some outdoor amenities for Saturday.

Starting Saturday, per provincial guidelines, the town will reopen basketball courts, tennis and pickleball courts, skate parks, soccer and other sports fields, as well as picnic tables.

Driving ranges and golf courses are also permitted to resume operation.

“The reopening of outdoor facilities is an encouraging indication that the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in Niagara is working and that we are headed in the right direction,” said Lord Mayor Betty Disero in a town news release.

“That said, this is not the time to let our guard down. Reopening measures must be gradual to ensure we do not take steps backward. Please, continue to comply with all provincial regulations and public health guidelines. Keep a distance, wash your hands, don’t touch your face and wear a mask. We will get through this.”

The opening of some outdoor amenities is a result of an increase in COVID-19 vaccines arriving in Ontario, the town said following the province's announcement.

Ontario's reopening plan consists of the following three steps:

Step 1 will focus on resuming outdoor activities with smaller crowds and permitting retail with restrictions. This includes allowing outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people, outdoor dining with up to four people per table, and non-essential retail at 15 per cent capacity.

Step 2 will focus on expanding outdoor activities and resuming limited indoor services with small numbers of people where face coverings are worn. This includes outdoor gatherings of up to 25 people, outdoor sports and leagues, personal care services where face coverings can be worn and with capacity limits, as well as indoor religious services, rites or ceremony gatherings at 15 per cent capacity.

Step 3 will focus on expanding access to indoor settings, with restrictions, including instances where there are larger numbers of people and where face coverings can’t always be worn. This includes indoor sports and recreational fitness, indoor dining, museums, art galleries and libraries, and casinos and bingo halls, with capacity limits. 

The province will remain in each phase for at least 21 days to evaluate vaccination progress and case numbers.

If vaccination thresholds have been met at the end of the 21 days, along with "positive trends in other key public health and health system indicators," then the province will move to the next step.

Vaccination thresholds are:

Step 1: 60 per cent of adults vaccinated with one dose.

Step 2: 70 per cent of adults vaccinated with one dose and 20 per cent vaccinated
with two doses.

Step 3: 70 to 80 per cent of adults vaccinated with one dose and 25 per cent
vaccinated with two doses.

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