Coronavirus: Bathrooms and beaches opening in Grand River Conservation areas

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After closing its parks to get ready for Phase 2 of the province’s coronavirus pandemic recovery plan, the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA) says most have reopened with more amenities.

It says that gatehouses, beaches and some washrooms have begun to open in many of its conservation areas.

“As the GRCA reopens more amenities and activities for visitors in our Grand River Parks, the health and safety of staff and the community remain our highest priority,” GRCA chair Helen Jowett said in a statement.

READ MORE: Belwood Lake, Elora Gorge, Guelph Lake, Rockwood conservation areas closed until Monday

“We are pleased to reopen more amenities, and while this is good news, it’s also important to remember it will not be business as usual in our parks this year. As always, we encourage people to be responsible so that we can continue to offer an enjoyable experience for all visitors.”

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Last week, the GRCA announced it would close many of its parks to prepare for Phase 2.

It reopened many of them on Monday and says that Byng Island in Haldimand County will also return on June 19.

The GRCA says that a number of options for visitors remain off the table, including the Elora Quarry Conservation Area, boat canoe and kayak rentals, picnic shelters and pavilions, tubing and splash pads at Elora Gorge and the Learn to Fish program.

READ MORE: People ignore social distancing rules, leave trash behind at Grand River parks: GRCA

Overnight camping is also unavailable with a decision being made on if and when it returns later this month.

The swimming pools at Brant and Byng Island conservation areas as well as the food concession stands at all facilities will remain closed this year.

The conservation authority is also warning visitors that they will have to wear face coverings if they are going to enter gatehouses or public washrooms at Belwood Lake, Conestogo Lake, Elora Gorge, Guelph Lake and Rockwood conservation areas as they are subject to orders in place by the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Health Unit.