As of January 14, all City of North Bay outdoor municipal rinks and tobogganing hills will be closed until further notice under the direction of the North Bay Parry Sound District Medical Officer of Health.

The city says parking lots at outdoor rinks will be closed and residents are advised to adhere to the Ontario government’s 28-day stay-at-home order and declaration of a second provincial emergency to address the COVID-19 crisis.

The order states that people must remain home “with exceptions for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health-care services, for exercise or for work where the work cannot be done remotely.”

Under the order, public and social gatherings are restricted to five people, with limited exceptions. This is consistent with rules during the first wave’s lockdown last spring. The city says it will allow individuals and families to enjoy time outdoors safely.

“We’re supportive of the Medical Officer of Health’s directive and are recommending that people who want to get some exercise and enjoy the outdoors go for a walk in their neighbourhood park or access area trails,” said Mayor Al McDonald. “Our outdoor rinks and tobogganing hills have attracted crowds in recent weeks and we are implementing measures to protect the public and prevent the spread of the virus.”

The City of North Bay says they’re continuing to work closely with the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit and other community partners and will continue to share regular updates to keep residents informed on any changes to municipal programs and services.

“Our community has been vigilant throughout the pandemic and our numbers have remained relatively low thanks to the dedication and commitment of our citizens and businesses,” said McDonald. “We’re asking our residents to honour the spirit of the stay-at-home order and not look for loopholes in the restrictions.”