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Coronavirus: Ottawa rinks, sledding hills to remain open amid Ontario stay-home order

A mom teachers her daughter to skate at Landsdowne Park in Ottawa on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Outdoor recreational amenities will remain open for use in Ottawa, the city confirmed Thursday, even as Ontario seeks to restrict trips outside the home to “essential” purposes only to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Ottawa residents are allowed to use outdoor rinks and sledding hills under the new regulations, but must continue to respect the 25-person limits at these sites under the recent class order from Ottawa’s medical officer of health Dr. Vera Etches.

Skaters, sledders and cross-country skiers must maintain a physical distance of two metres and wear a mask while off the ice, though mask-use is still highly encouraged while skating, according to Ottawa Public Health.

Read more: Ontario stay-at-home order in effect, but police can’t randomly stop people

Outdoor refrigerated rinks will continue to be booked out in 45-minute chunks through the city’s online registration system.

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Hockey and other team sports are also banned under provincial restrictions.

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The National Capital Commission also announced this week that it still intends to open the Rideau Canal Skateway this season amid the province’s second state of emergency.

Ontario’s stay-home order makes exceptions for exercise as well as essential work, trips to the grocery store and medical appointments.

A few other city services will change or close under the new orders, including:

  • Administrative buildings including 100 Constellation and Ben Franklin Place will be closed to the public.
  • Client service centres will move online while building code services will shift to alternative formats such as mail, electronic submission or phone only.
  • Access to Employment and Social Services offices is available by phone and email.
  • City Hall access is restricted to Service Ontario and municipal child-care service, though Service Ontario desks will close at the end of day on Friday and shift to online-only operations.
  • Ottawa Public Library branches will remain closed but will offer curbside service.
  • All indoor recreation and cultural facilities remain closed.
  • Overtime parking restrictions will not be enforced on streets that do not have posted time limits, but all other parking restrictions remain in effect.
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