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Coronavirus: City of Barrie closes theatres, library branches amid COVID-19 concerns

Out of caution, Barrie officials say they're making several changes to city programming, which will go into effect as of 4 p.m. Friday. Nick Westoll / File / Global News

The City of Barrie is closing several of its facilities and is making changes to its recreation programming amid concerns over the novel coronavirus.

The announcement comes one day after the first confirmed case of COVID-19 was announced in Barrie.

The local case of COVID-19 is in a man in his 40s who recently travelled to Germany and Spain. He was tested at the Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre on Monday.

READ MORE: Coronavirus — Simcoe Muskoka health unit confirms first local COVID-19 case

Out of caution, Barrie officials say that starting Saturday, all city recreation facilities, including arenas, theatres and libraries are closed until further notice.

City ward meetings, planning meetings and council advisory meetings are cancelled until further notice. General committee and council meetings will continue but will be closed to the public.

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“The changes you’re seeing now, with schools closing and gatherings limited, are part of our system of government working exactly the way it should — to protect people,” Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman said in a statement.

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“The most important thing right now is to listen to the advice of our doctors and scientists in public health.”

Barrie officials say they’ve also made several changes to city programming.

March break programs and camps held by the city will be cancelled. Officials say anyone who registered for them will receive a full refund.

READ MORE: Coronavirus — All publicly funded schools in Ontario closing for 2 weeks due to COVID-19

Preschool, child care programs, the Parkview Centre for 55+ and the Allandale Centre for 55+ are cancelled until further notice.

Barrie officials say city staff will meet regularly to discuss contingency and business continuity planning related to COVID-19.

As of Friday, there are 79 cases of COVID-19 in Ontario.

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The latest updates on COVID-19 – Mar 13, 2020

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