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Coronavirus: Some Hamilton waterfalls, museums open on July 15

The city of Hamilton and the Hamilton Conservation authority will be opening up a number of the city's falls on Wednesday with some exceptions.
The city of Hamilton and the Hamilton Conservation authority will be opening up a number of the city's falls on Wednesday with some exceptions. Hamilton Conservation Authority

Hamilton, Ont., waterfalls and museums will be open to the public on Wednesday despite the city not entering Stage 3 of the province’s COVID-19 reopening plan later this week.

Beginning July 15, most waterfalls in the city will be open except for Tews Falls, Websters Falls and Dundas Peak which will remain closed since shuttle services are not available due to the novel coronavirus.

As per public health guidelines, COVID-19 physical distancing protocols will remain in place for visitors, requiring the two metres of distance and avoiding contact with those outside your social circle.

Read more: Worker tests positive for coronavirus at Hamilton care home on the mountain

The falls opening this week include the waterways under the direction of the Hamilton Conservation Authority (HCA) who will open Tiffany Falls, the Devils’ Punchbowl, Borer’s Falls, and Felker’s Falls.

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“Visitors are asked to consider planning their trip on off-peak times such as early in the morning or on weekdays,” the HCA said in a release on Monday morning.

“If parking lots are full, do not park on municipal roadways. Please return another time.”

The agency says there are still a number of outdoor recreation areas that will remain closed including Spencer Gorge and associated areas.

The closures also include Crooks Hollow and the Spencer Adventure Trail.

The HCA says officers will be deployed to enforce trespassing bylaws and issue $250 parking tickets to violators.

Hamilton museums to open on Wednesday

The city will also open the Dundurn National Historic Site, which includes Dundurn Castle, the Hamilton Military Museum, and the Historic Kitchen Garden, on the 15th offering modified programming on a Wednesday to Sunday schedule.

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The Hamilton Museum of Steam & Technology will reopen Wednesday, however, all other Hamilton civic museums will remain closed until further notice.

Four more pools open

On Friday, the city’s emergency operation centre director said city pools were busy since reopening last week.

Read more: Ontario reopening Stage 3: Gathering limit increasing as indoor dining, gyms permitted to reopen

“If there was a good week to open pools, it was this week, ” the EOC’s Paul Johnson said, “We’ve had 3,500 visits since Monday. We’ve had over 300 hours of open swim time.”

Four additional outdoor pools — Birge, Greenacres, Inch Park and Walker — are open as of Monday, July 13.

Operating hours for all city-run pools are between 12 p.m. and 7 p.m. daily with schedules and guidelines for visiting pools are available at hamilton.ca/swimming

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Playgrounds still closed

Since Hamilton will not be entering Stage 3 of the province’s reopening, the city may have to look at possibly working on some way to lock down the city’s playgrounds.

In his update on Friday, the EOC’s Johnson said that the city may consider some ‘other measures’ to discourage the use of play areas amid reports of some children playing on them despite the pandemic.

“We may have to look at some kind of an approach to, again, make it very clear these are blocked off,” said Johnson.

Hamilton closed down the city’s playgrounds at the end of March 2020 to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Hamilton closed down the city’s playgrounds at the end of March 2020 to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Lisa Polewski / Global News

At present, the city has posted signs right on play structures in city parks, but generally have not gone to the lengths of barricading playgrounds.

Johnson says taking the extra measures would mean allocating staff resources to a project the EOC doesn’t have time for.

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“I can’t imagine people don’t see them. I think that the yellow tape was always a hard one to continue to have up, because even the weather, it’s not always people tearing it down, just the weather sometimes pulls that down,” Johnson said.

Read more: 116 new coronavirus cases, 3 deaths in Ontario; total cases at 36,839

On Monday, the province announced 24 regions would move into stage 3 of the province COVID-19 re-opening plan on Friday.

Regions around Hamilton that will see more businesses and public spaces open on Friday include Brant County, Guelph, and Waterloo.

Amusement parks, buffets, restaurants and bars with dancing, overnight camps for children, karaoke rooms, sports events with prolonged contact, saunas, steam rooms, bath houses, oxygen bars, as well as casinos and gaming establishments the entities will not be permitted to operate in Stage 3.