Coronavirus: City of Kitchener’s plan for reopening could stretch into 2021

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Kitchener city council has approved the framework and guiding principals of a COVID-19 recovery plan for the city, which will be rolled out in four phases and could run into 2021.

The city says its plan will focus on meeting the needs of the community while ensuring its health and safety and also attempting to minimize the deficit. It will also continue efforts to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

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“We know many residents are anxious to get back to their everyday activities, and the City of Kitchener is committed to doing our part to make that happen — even if it has to happen gradually,” Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic said in a statement.

“When we receive direction from the provincial government and our local public health officials that restrictions are being eased, this framework will enable the city to move as quickly as possible to reopen our valued recreation facilities and resume our important programs and services we offer in a prioritized and sequential manner — but we will only do so when it can be done safely.”

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The first phase of the plan is already underway and will continue through to the middle of the month.

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It includes the opening of golf courses, dog parks and other outdoor amenities as well as a phased opening of the Kitchener Market.

Phase 2, which will run from mid-June through mid-July, will see more outdoor options open such as pools, splash pads, sports fields and playgrounds, depending on guidance from the province.

Lawn bowling clubs, minor hockey and baseball offices and Budd Park indoor facility could also reopen as well.

City Hall could also open by appointment and some community centres as well.

The third phase will occur from mid-July to September, and it will see the reopening of indoor pools, additional community centres and arenas. The province approved the opening of pools on Monday so that may occur quicker than expected.

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More city staff are expected to return to the office toward the end of the phase, although City Hall is expected to remain by appointment only.

The city is also expected to allow for larger gatherings depending on guidance from the province.

The final phase will last through the end of the year, and it will depend on where things stand with regards to the coronavirus pandemic.

It includes the potential opening of outdoor amenities, indoor facilities, programs and events.

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