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Coronavirus: City of Kawartha Lakes eyes ‘soft re-opening’ of some outdoor services on May 12

City of Kawartha Lakes

All City of Kawartha Lakes municipal amenities and boat launches remain closed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

But it may not be that way come May 12 — the same day the provincial state of emergency is slated to be lifted, should Premier Doug Ford choose to not extend it.

“We are targeting May 12 as a date based on the state of emergency,” said Mayor Andy Letham.  “We’re going to do a review at that time on our boat ramps, landfills and the rail trail — opening it to motorized vehicles.”

“I want to stress this is a target date only.”

“These are outside activities and it will depend on the state of emergency and our local state of emergency as well,” Letham said.

READ MORE: City of Kawartha Lakes starting to look at recovery from coronavirus pandemic

The 55 km rail trail between Lindsay and Kinmount was to open May 1 to motorized vehicles, but that date will be pushed back.

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On the media teleconference Thursday, Letham told reporters these are outdoor activities and that if those services reopened, there would be parameters put in place for physical distancing.

“This is not a done deal. If we continue on the route we’re going, we’re on a good path over the next 2.5-3 weeks, then we can look at easing some of these things back into our community,” added Letham.

Dr. Bonnie Henry on the importance of accessing busy urban parks and beaches during the pandemic for mental health
Dr. Bonnie Henry on the importance of accessing busy urban parks and beaches during the pandemic for mental health

Letham has had preliminary discussions with Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock MPP Laurie Scott about some non-essential businesses returning to a reduced behind-the-scenes operation to get ready for the eventual re-opening of the economy.

READ MORE: 634 new coronavirus cases in Ontario, total rises to 12,879 with 713 deaths

To date, nothing has been decided and the provincial order restricting non-essential business remains in place.

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“The provincial emergency has closed our businesses and non-essentials.  We have no control over that,” said Letham.  “We’re just looking at some of the local decisions we’ve made.”

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“We think there’s a way to do that, if it’s outside and we can do it responsibly, then at some point, we’re going to have to start getting back to where we want to be.”

Letham said the municipality will work with Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit on benchmarks to put in place to move forward with re-opening some services.

He will discuss that on a call on Monday.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Trent-Severn Waterway opening delayed until ‘at least May 31’

Also on the call, Letham said the municipality is sending a letter of support to Enbridge Gas for the expansion of service to Bobcaygeon.

The service has already been extended and installed in nearby Fenelon Falls.

The City of Kawartha Lakes will turn on its blue lights at city hall in Lindsay, for a week starting Friday night, in tribute to those affected by the mass shooting tragedy in Nova Scotia.

Growing tributes for victims of Nova Scotia mass murder
Growing tributes for victims of Nova Scotia mass murder

All flags at city hall and the Bobcaygeon Service Centre will also be lowered on Monday.

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Council will meet for the first time in a virtual setting on Apr. 28.