Ottawa’s parks and green spaces are about to get some new staff members. Starting on Monday, “Park Ambassadors” will be patrolling the city’s busiest parks, seven days per week. According to Mayor Jim Watson, they’re there to “provide guidance” when it comes to social distancing protocol.
This week, the City of Ottawa will be launching their “Park Ambassador Program,” which comes just days after restrictions for using green spaces were relaxed.
"We’ve identified the City’s busiest parks and our Park Ambassadors will circulate among them," a statement from officials explained.
Between noon and dusk every day of the week, six teams will visit four parks every day, for a combined 24 parks per day.
According to the official notice, the purpose of the new staff members will not be to enforce rules, but to help provide social distancing education.
“Park Ambassadors are not going to give out tickets,” the City assured residents on Friday.
“They are not by-law enforcement officers or police officers and have no authority to enforce regulations,” the statement continued.
Instead, the staff members are there to “educate and inform,” and provide information about how to use the newly reopened parks safely and in accordance with the City’s latest COVID-19 guidelines.
Speaking about the new staff in the City’s parks, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson explained, “Parks ambassadors are trained city staff that can provide guidance for residents who are using some of Ottawa’s busiest parks.”
He continued, "They can provide information, answer questions and clarify any confusion about what’s permitted in city parks, while maintaining a safe two metre distance from others.”
They’ll be dressed in green t-shirts or red coats, and will be seen circulating the green spaces in pairs.
While Ottawa’s parks and green spaces have officially reopened to the public, there’s still a number of rules that must be followed when out-and-about.
For example, park amenities such as play structures, ball diamonds, benches, skateboard ramps, basketball and tennis courts are still prohibited.
Additionally, a distance of two metres from others must be maintained at all times, and gathering in groups of five or more is still banned.
“As further restrictions on parks and public gatherings are relaxed, our Park Ambassadors will still be in place to help inform and educate users about those changes,” the City added in their statement.
Starting today, some retail businesses in Ontario will also begin reopen, although this is for curbside pickup only.
*This article's cover image is for illustrative purposes only.