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County asks residents to practice social distancing at splashpads, pools, beaches

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By Nick Seebruch
County asks residents to practice social distancing at splashpads, pools, beaches
The new splashpad in Long Sault.

UNITED COUNTIES of SD&G, Ontario – As beaches, pools and splashpads re-open, the United Counties of SD&G are reminding residents to follow COVID-19 precautions when using these municipal amenities.

Such precautions include social distancing, wearing masks where social distancing is not possible, avoiding the use of common surfaces where possible, and vigorous hygiene.

The Township of South Stormont has already decided to close one beach and park, Lakeview Park and the public pool in St. Andrews West due to a lack of resources to properly enforce social distancing.

“Closure is not the tack townships and municipalities want to take,” said Warden Frank Prevost. “But the reality is the pandemic is not over. We must remain vigilant to avoid future outbreaks and a return to the economic lockdown we are now slowly rolling back.”

The Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) released the following information in regards to the opening and use of beaches, pools and splashpads.

  • Do not go to the beach if you have symptoms such as sore throat, headache, fatigue, malaise, etc. or if you are under self-isolation because you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the last 14 days, are awaiting test results for COVID-19, have come in contact with someone who was diagnosed with COVID-19 in the last 14 days, or if you have been advised to self-isolate by public health or another authority.
  • Municipalities are encouraged to develop a plan with the following guidelines:
    • Use educational tools such as onsite signs and/or social media messaging advising visitors about COVID-19 precautions when going to the beach.
    • Consider limiting the total number of people at the beach.
    • Manage the traffic flow as people enter and exit the beach and parking areas.
    • Post signs at conspicuous places at the beach, with self-screening questions and instructions for physical distancing and hand hygiene.
    • Ensure adequate handwashing stations/washrooms are available, with signs showing their locations and promoting handwashing. If handwashing is not feasible, consider providing alcohol-based hand sanitizer (minimum 60% alcohol content) for visitors.
    • Clean and sanitize commonly touched surfaces such as doorknobs, toilets, change tables, etc.
    • Encourage beach users and employees to always maintain a physical distance of 2 metres from other people.
    • Non-medical face coverings should be used when physical distancing is not possible.
    • Gatherings must not include more people (from different households) than the number permitted under the provincial emergency order.
    • Stay up to date on the latest requirements under the provincial order, and incorporate these into your plan (e.g. removing or restricting play structures and common amenities at the beach, preventing people who are not members of the same household from having organized activities that involve sharing of play equipment, etc.)
    • Ensure that occupational health and safety legislation and guidelines are followed: www.health.gov.on.ca/en/pro/programs/publichealth/coronavirus/2019_guidance.aspx and www.ontario.ca/page/resources-prevent-covid-19-workplace.
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