COVID-19: No vaccination proof required as Ottawa reopens city rec facilities in Step 3

The head of Ottawa's recreation services said Wednesday that the city will not require proof of vaccination to let residents use fitness facilities as they begin reopening on July 16. Nick Westoll / File / Global News

The City of Ottawa’s recreational facilities and other municipal services will begin gradually resuming on Friday as Ontario enters Step 3 of the provincial COVID-19 reopening plan.

Starting Friday, July 16, weight and cardio rooms, fitness programs and indoor sport activities at select city facilities will reopen with capacity limits in place.

Indoor swimming and aquafitness programs will reopen the same day, with swimming lessons restarting the week of July 26.

Read more: Can private businesses enforce their own COVID-19 ‘vaccine passports’?

Access to most rec facilities and activities will begin on an appointment-only basis. Reservations will open up Wednesday night at 6 p.m.

Dan Chenier, Ottawa’s general manager of recreation, culture and facilities services, said Wednesday that there’s a “different feel” around the upcoming reopening of local fitness facilities, which have been closed for the past few months under Ontario’s stay-at-home order and other provincial COVID-19 restrictions.

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“There’s more excitement and optimism that we’re back to stay, and we certainly hope so,” he told reporters on Wednesday.

While Ottawa hit a milestone this week with 60 per cent of adults having received both doses of COVID-19 vaccine, Chenier confirmed Wednesday that the city will not require proof of vaccination before letting someone use municipal recreational services.

Read more: University of Ottawa students must be vaccinated to live in residence

Chenier noted that capacity limits will be in place at sites as physical distancing requirements remain.

Should the province mandate that proof of vaccination is required at fitness facilities in the future, the city would be prepared to implement those measures, he said.

Some facilities will not reopen for recreational services on Friday as they remain in use as respite centres or testing sites amid the ongoing pandemic.

Cultural facilities like municipal museums and galleries will start coming online over the next few weeks and through to the fall.

Click to play video: 'Ontario says there are no plans to roll out a vaccine passport'
Ontario says there are no plans to roll out a vaccine passport

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