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Winnipeg reopens parks, athletic fields amid latest coronavirus restrictions

Winnipeg is reopening parks and athletic fields as of Tuesday. Shane Gibson/Global News

The City of Winnipeg is reopening all parks and athletic fields amid the latest COVID-19 lockdown.

On Tuesday, Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman said the city is reversing a move that has seen the the outdoor amenities closed since November after clarifying the latest public health orders with provincial officials.

Read more: More than 500 Manitobans have now died from coronavirus, 272 new cases reported Tuesday

“I’m very pleased that residents will now have more options open to them to get outside and get active, safely,” Bowman said.

“Of course, I also want to underscore for our residents to continue to practice the fundamentals if you’re venturing out of your homes and into these public spaces.”

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Bowman said the changes would go into effect immediately Tuesday

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“The public service has begun the process removing the signage that’s currently up, indicating that these spaces are closed, to be clear, playgrounds and athletic fields are open while the process unfolds,” he said.

Read more: Coronavirus: Vaccine arrives in Manitoba, first doses planned for Wednesday

The city closed all city-run outdoor recreation amenities Nov. 10 in anticipation of critical level restrictions that went into effect across Winnipeg later that week.

Since then, the entire province of Manitoba has been put under the restrictions, which originally banned large outdoor gatherings, limited in-home gatherings, and closed all non-essential businesses.

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But last week, the public health orders were loosened slightly to to allow for some outdoor activities and the selling of some products, such as Christmas decorations. Strict limits on group sizes and gatherings remain in place, as health officials say pressure on the health-care system remains high.

The city says Winnipeggers taking advantage of the outdoor amenities still need to maintain a distance of at least two metres from anyone who not in their household and not gather in groups larger than the provincial health orders allow.

Read more: Coronavirus: Vaccine arrives in Manitoba, first doses planned for Wednesday

A full list of outdoor recreation and park amenities now open can be found on the city’s website.

On Tuesday, provincial health officials announced nine new COVID-19-related deaths and 272 new cases, including 130 in the Winnipeg Health region.

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