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Manitoba playgrounds, rec facilities and campgrounds reopening Monday

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus outbreak: Manitoba announces gradual reopening of non-essential businesses, non-urgent medical procedures, outdoor spaces' Coronavirus outbreak: Manitoba announces gradual reopening of non-essential businesses, non-urgent medical procedures, outdoor spaces
Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister announced on Wednesday that due to the efforts of Manitobans to help flatten the COVID-19 curve, the province will begin to "gradually start to get back to business." Effective May 4, a number of non-essential businesses will be allowed to reopen. Outdoor recreational sites, like playgrounds, golf courses and campgrounds, will be subject to eased restrictions, and non-urgent health services, elective surgeries, dentists, orthodontics and physiotherapists will be allowed to operate – Apr 29, 2020

The provincial government has unveiled a plan to slowly start reopening recreational facilities starting on Monday.

Playgrounds, skate parks, golf courses, tennis courts, driving ranges and other similar recreation facilities may reopen if people maintain a distance of at least two metres, says the province.

READ MORE: Winnipeg to close playgrounds, suspend parking tickets amid growing COVID-19 crisis

When it comes to golfing, the province says golfers will need to be screened on the phone before a tee-time is booked and are prevented from booking if they have COVID-19 symptoms.

A maximum of four golfers per group is allowed and one person per golf cart, or two people from the same household.

Public use items, such as ball-washing stations and water fountains, are closed or removed.

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Click to play video: 'Manitoba playgrounds, rec facilities and campgrounds reopening Monday' Manitoba playgrounds, rec facilities and campgrounds reopening Monday
Manitoba playgrounds, rec facilities and campgrounds reopening Monday – Apr 29, 2020

Jeff Scott, chief operating officer of Southwood Golf and Country Club in Winnipeg says they’ve been preparing for the eventual reopening with safety in mind.

“Some of the things we’re talking about are implementing sanitation stations, [and] lots of signage,” Scott says.
“[On] our practice range we are going to be putting up some dividers; we will have carts available but they will be one use and sanitizing after use.”

Scott adds their property is some 300 acres, so there’s plenty of room for people to keep six feet apart.

READ MORE: Manitoba camping season still up in the air amid COVID-19 restrictions

Campgrounds will also be opening on Monday — that applies to yurts and vacation cabins.

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“Leaving the campgrounds closed is something I’m sure that some may say we should do,” says premier Brian Pallister.

“But the fact remains that we have a beautiful province that we can enjoy right now and I think a lot of families would really appreciate having a little outing with their kids for example.”

Brian Kotak of the Manitoba Lodges and Outfitters Association said the province’s plan is great news for the group’s members.

“We always held out the hope that we would at least have some part of summer to be able to enjoy camping. Having it open much earlier than we anticipated that’s great news for our businesses,” he said.

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“We have a number of our lodge and outfitter members who have either campgrounds or accommodations, so this would certainly help.”

Manitoba campsite reservations open Monday morning. Whitney Stinson / Global News

Kotak said the shut down has had a big impact on members, as border closures have led to cancellations from U.S. customers who make up a large percentage of business for fly-in lodges and outfitters.

“Hopefully Manitobans will rent cabins this summer to make up for the gap,” he said.

The province says if people do plan on camping, they need to pack their own toilet paper, hand sanitizer and other personal hygiene products to provincial campgrounds, yurts and vacation cabins.

“We’re stepping up the oversight there, we’re stepping up the cleaning, we’re making sure the protocols are followed, there’s educational material going to be made available to everyone,” added Pallister.

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“The temptations are real wherever you go, I suppose, to gather in big group numbers, but I’ll say again: don’t do it.”

The province says people have to also gas up before leaving home, wear water shoes or sandals while using shower facilities and not use local health providers, unless it is an emergency.

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus outbreak: Manitoba travel and gathering restrictions remain in place amid start of provincial reopening' Coronavirus outbreak: Manitoba travel and gathering restrictions remain in place amid start of provincial reopening
Coronavirus outbreak: Manitoba travel and gathering restrictions remain in place amid start of provincial reopening – Apr 29, 2020

The province adds that all businesses will be required to limit occupancy to 50 per cent of normal business levels or one person per 10 square metres, whichever is lower.

The group rules still apply and no more than 10 people may gather in common areas.

The province says that these requirements will be enforceable under public health orders.

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There are a number of guidelines for staff who work at these types of businesses.

Businesses need to ensure that their emplyees are healthy before coming into work and to maintain physical distancing, businesses must post external signs indicating COVID-19 physical distancing protocols, and floor markings are installed where service is offered or lines form.

Recreation areas, such as dance floors, pool tables and other areas, are closed.

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