Ahead of a sunny weekend in the capital city, many of Ottawa’s parks and amenities are reopening to the public. While outdoor sports facilities, dog parks and benches will be free to use once again, other provisions such as playground equipment will remain off-limits. Before you pack a picnic or grab your rackets, make sure you know exactly what the rules are!

There’s some good news for the national capital region this week, as the City of Ottawa announced on Tuesday that the majority of parks and green spaces would be reopening to the public, including many amenities.

A notice from the City confirms that, in accordance with the province’s stage one reopening plan, outdoor sports facilities and multi-use fields would be reopened.

This includes baseball diamonds, soccer fields, frisbee golf locations, tennis courts, table tennis and pickleball courts, basketball courts, BMX parks and skate parks.

While these sporty spaces are free to use once again, physical distancing rules remain in place, and groups of more than five people are still prohibited from gathering.

This means that while sports fields are available for “casual use,” organized sports games are still a no-go.

The City also asks residents to avoid touching anybody else’s sports equipment, including soccer balls and baseballs.

"In addition, off-leash dog areas, benches, picnic areas and shelters are also open. In all cases, physical distancing of at least two metres is required,” the City added in the news release.

While restrictions on benches and picnic tables have been relaxed under this reopening framework, Ottawa reminds locals that these facilities are not cleaned regularly.

Therefore, anybody who uses them should wash their hands immediately, and be sure not to touch their face.

Unfortunately, not all amenities will be reopened this week. For now, provincial orders remain in place that prohibit the use of play structures. This includes swings, slides, splash and spray pads, wading pools and public exercise equipment.

This comes just one week after the City announced that all parks and green spaces would be reopening to those wanting to exercise and relax, although amenities were still off-limits at that time.

In a supporting message, Mayor Jim Watson asked for patience over the coming days, as the City works to reinstall hundreds of tennis court nets and basketball nets, and to unlock numerous dog parks.

“The work will be completed over the next few weeks,” the City concluded.

With some gorgeous weather in the forecast for Ottawa this weekend, this couldn’t have come at a better time!

*This article's cover image is for illustrative purposes only.

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