Playground equipment at District of Houston parks can now be used again but sanitization strongly advised. (Angelique Houlihan photo)

District re-opens fitness centre, playgrounds

By-Mac campground remains closed

The District of Houston continues to gradually re-open recreation facilities closed since mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Its latest move is re-opening the fitness centre, albeit with limitations, as of June 15.

Centre use is by appointments only and there’s a 45-minute limit on use.

Appointments are also for membership holders only and no drop-ins are permitted.

“Members of the public experiencing signs and symptoms of a cough or fever are not permitted to use the fitness centre and will be refused service,” said District of Houston chief administrative officer Gerald Pinchbeck.

“The District staff are committed to maintaining proper sanitation procedures which include regular hand-washing and sanitation of high-touch surfaces,” he said.

Pinchbeck added that while the measures may be inconvenient, the District thanks people for their co-operation in helping to ensure the safety and health of District employees and fitness centre users.

The pool, however, remains closed pending word from the Lifesaving Society, a national organization dedicated to safety in the water, that it is safe to do so.

“Right now they are waiting to see the impacts of the opening of outdoor pools and waterfronts,” the District indicated.

The District has also re-opened its parks and playgrounds but is strong advising users to adhere to public safety guidance measures.

“Playground equipment is not being cleaned or disinfected by staff,” stated a District release.

And it is strongly advising parents, guardians and others to refrain from visiting if sick, to maintain the two metres (six feet) of physical distancing between themselves and other family units and to sanitize their hands, and that of their children, before using playground equipment and immediately after.

Parents and guardians are also being advised to closely monitor the activities of their children.

Crowds are also to be avoided and hand sanitation is also advised after using a public bathroom or public water fountain.

The openings, for now, do not include the Bymac Park campsite and recreation venues such as the baseball fields and rodeo grounds also remain closed.

“No formal bookings for park spaces will be done at this time. It is the personal responsibility of parks and outdoor playground equipment users to ensure they are taking precautionary measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” the District stated.

The gradual re-opening of District playgrounds followed the re-opening of selected provincial parks first to daytime use in May and then for camping as of the beginning of June.

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