There's some good news for Ottawa residents ahead of Victoria Day weekend. Mayor Jim Watson announced on Wednesday, May 6 that all Ottawa City parks would be reopening effective immediately. However, there are some stringent rules that come with the reopening.
Mayor Watson tweeted on Wednesday afternoon to announce the news in the capital.
"I’m pleased to announce that, effective immediately, Ottawa residents will be able to enjoy fresh air and various outdoor activities in greenspaces at all City parks," wrote Watson.
However, he quickly stressed that just because parks are reopening across the city, that doesn't mean Ottawans should all flock to green spaces.
"We all want to enjoy the nice weather that is on its way to the nation’s capital — let’s do it responsibly," he added.
He explained that "responsibly" means still being sure to follow health advice and provincial emergency orders.
This means strictly no gatherings of more than five people and still no use of outdoor recreational amenities like benches, play structures, sports fields and basketball courts, and off-leash dog parks.
A release by the City goes on to detail what is allowed in parks now that they are reopened, and you can still have plenty of fun.
Per the release, visitors from the same family or in groups of no more than five can enjoy playing catch or kicking/throwing a ball around, flying a kite, sitting on a blanket or grass, exercising outside of official classes, and letting young children "run and burn off some energy."
Mayor Watson added: "It’s been almost nine weeks where the only outdoor escape involved back and front yards – for those who have them – and going for walks on residential streets.
"While we are far from returning to normal, people can now escape the confines of the indoors and their properties to enjoy some much-needed fresh air and activity.”
The news is the latest step in Ontario reopening for business after Premier Doug Ford announced a three-phase plan back on April 27.
Even before that had been confirmed, the nearby region of Kingston had reopened numerous walking trails in response to its low case count.
And on Wednesday, Ford announced retail businesses with street entrances will be allowed to reopen for curbside pickup starting on Monday, May 11.