The mayor of Peterborough says municipal facilities will remain closed until at least the end of May as officials continue to closely monitor the coronavirus pandemic.
Mayor Dianne Therrien provided a brief update during Wednesday’s media conference hosted by Peterborough Public Health. Therrien says any decision is tied to the province’s state of emergency which was extended until May 29.
The City of Peterborough and Peterborough County both declared a state of emergency on March 23 which still remains in effect.
“We’re hoping that there will be some announcement to start reopening some of those facilities in June,” she said. “There won’t be mass gatherings — those are still quite a way off — but we’re hoping to follow the guidelines to help keep the curve flat and start to begin to return to some kind of new normal.”
Therrien also encouraged people to support businesses as they slowly reopen by following physical distancing guidelines.
On Tuesday, the province lifted a number of restrictions including the use of outdoor sports fields. Therrien says discussions continue for clarification on what uses can be permitted at outdoor facilities such as soccer fields and skateboard parks.
“Soccer fields, for example, are reopened but how do you play with players staying two metres apart,” she said. “What would that look like? That’s what we’re working on figuring out as well. Saying those facilities are open, we still need to maintain those (physical) barriers.
“Use of them isn’t going to look how they traditionally look. But we’re hoping this will give people more green space to go out and walk about and run around but without having the organized sporting component of it.”
Dr. Rosana Salvaterra, the region’s medical officer of health, says provincial safety regulations state only a maximum of five people can gather. However, as physical distancing rules are lifted and large groups can gather, there may be other uses of green space that will be permitted, she said.
“The big change is just having that space made available for things like walking or running,” she said. “Things that you can still do as a solitary behaviour.”
Therrien also noted the Peterborough Sport and Wellness Centre remains “busy” as a temporary homeless shelter. However, the gym will eventually reopen and discussions are underway on when displaced individuals can return to the permanent shelters in the downtown core. The Brock Mission and the overflow shelter bed program on Murray Street were closed as they could not provide adequate physical distancing for users.
Therrien and Salvaterra said they have not had any compliance issues with respect to the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.