City of Toronto to suspend some recreation programs amid coronavirus resurgence

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The City of Toronto is set to suspend some recreation programs amid a resurgence in coronavirus cases.

The announcement comes one week after the city’s medical officer of health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, recommended that indoor gym classes and sports activities discontinue.

“Based on these recommendations, Parks, Forestry and Recreation staff have been working with Toronto Public Health to review the City’s current recreation programs,” officials said in a news release.

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Officials said as of Tuesday, various programs and services will be suspended including:

  • registered and instructional programs including skating and swimming lessons, group fitness classes and wellness programs
  • hockey games, scrimmages
  • drop-in sports programs other than leisure skating and swimming
  • indoor permits for social gatherings and sports games
  • billiards, foosball, table tennis

The programs are deemed “high-risk” for coronavirus transmission as they are done indoors and involve close contact, often without masks, officials said. Around 20,000 people are expected to be affected and they will all receive refunds automatically.

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“I know that the suspension of these indoor recreation programs will be frustrating for those who were looking forward to these activities,” Mayor John Tory said in a statement.

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“I have asked City staff to work towards developing supplementary outdoor activities that people can take part in safely this fall and winter.”

Officials said the following programs will still operate with restrictions in place:

  • leisure swim and skate
  • lane swimming
  • fitness centres
  • arts instruction
  • permits for outdoor sports
  • indoor athletic training without gameplay (i.e. hockey training)
  • after-school recreation care
  • December camps for children
  • drop-in youth programs without sports

Outdoor amenities in parks remain open.

Ontario reported a record 939 coronavirus cases on Friday, with 336 in Toronto.