Ottawans could hear about new rules surrounding the public use of local parks in the coming days.
As it stands, residents can only walk through parks with no stopping or playing allowed. Anyone caught breaking those rules can face a fine of $880.
City Councillor Keith Egli, who is also Chair of the Ottawa Board of Health, says as the weather improves, more people want to get out and enjoy local green spaces, but the city is taking a cautious approach to reopening them.
"You might be able to be on that green patch in the city park going forward, but that doesn't mean you can call all your friends together and have a full blown soccer game, for example," he explains. "You still need to have that proper physical distancing. The rules about how many people can gather at one time, in one place, being five."
Egli agrees, however, that the sooner they establish new rules for local green spaces, the better it will be for everyone.
"It's in everybody's best inrerest to get out there, get access to the fresh air, the sunshine, maybe a snow flurry or two," he says. "It's good for the physical health and good for the mental health, so we want to do at [Ottawa] Public Health, what we can to support the city in reopening and making these spaces more accessible and flexible for everyone."
Today, 7 City Councillors released a letter calling for #Ottawa and #Ontario @celliottability to move to re-open the green spaces in our parks in conjunction with recommendations from @ottawahealth. You can read the letter here: https://t.co/lpP7qSZp3e #ottnews #covidOttawa— Shawn Menard (@ShawnMenard1) May 5, 2020
As Egli and the board work toward establishing new official rules around the use of parks, he adds that residents may also hear more recommendations for people to wear masks in public.