Children make use of the equipment at Puntledge Park playground Monday morning, after the yellow caution tape had been removed. Parks throughout the Comox Valley have reopened. Photo by Terry Farrell

Comox Valley playgrounds, outdoor fitness stations now open

School District 71 and Comox Valley local governments have reopened outdoor playgrounds effective Monday, June 1.

This reopening includes all district school playgrounds and outdoor fitness equipment as well as public outdoor playgrounds in the Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD), city of Courtenay, town of Comox, village of Cumberland and 19-Wing Comox.

Numerous outdoor amenities have been closed since March 17 to help limit the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Local reopening of select outdoor recreation facilities were announced earlier in May, following the Province of BC’s easing of some restrictions through their announcement of the BC Restart Plan.

Following public health guidelines, users of these playgrounds and fitness equipment are reminded:

• Stay home if you are feeling any signs of illness

• Maintain a physical distance of two metres as much as possible from anyone outside your household

• Where physical distance is not possible, consider wearing a non-medical mask or face covering

• Wash your hands before and after using the playground structures and don’t touch your face

• Supervise children at all times and restrict crowding as much as possible.

In addition to playgrounds, the Village of Cumberland has also opened the Water Spray Park in the Village Park. Spray parks in Comox and Courtenay remain closed at this time.

Indoor recreation facilities in Comox, Courtenay, Cumberland and the CVRD remain closed until further notice. Local government recreation departments continue to participate in a broad provincial discussion through the BC Recreation and Parks Association as they work towards a reopening plan that meets the required provincial standards.

Please visit www.comoxvalleyrd.ca/covid19 for up-to-date information.

“We know how important fresh air and active play are for families, particularly for those who may not have access to backyards of their own,” says Jesse Ketler, emergency operations centre (EOC) spokesperson and CVRD board chair. “As we reopen these public amenities, we are carefully following all available recommendations and guidance from the province, Island Health, Worksafe BC, and the Municipal Safety Association, and we thank the public for their understanding as we methodically work through this process. Public health and safety remains our top priority.”

In conjunction with entering Phase 2 of the BC Restart plan, the regional EOC is downgrading from Level 2 to Level 1 activation, the lowest level of activation. The level of EOC activation is determined by the magnitude, scope and stage of the emergency, and the EOC’s ability to meet current response requirements.

The purpose and functions of the EOC remain unchanged, with representatives from the 19-Wing Comox, K’ómoks First Nation, CVRD, City of Courtenay, Town of Comox, Village of Cumberland, Fire Chiefs Association, and many other external agencies and organizations working together to collaborate on response and reopening measures and best practices for the region.

Residents are encouraged to please follow the CVRD social media channels @comoxvalleyrd on Facebook and Twitter, as well as visiting the CVRD website www.comoxvalleyrd.ca/covid19 to remain up to date on accurate information. All Comox Valley local governments are centralizing regional COVID-19 information through these channels. The Emergency Operations Centre is standing by to support the lead agencies, Ministry of Health and Island Health, if requested at the federal and provincial level.

Comox Valley

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A family plays on the swingset at the Puntledge Park playground Monday morning, after the yellow caution tape had been removed. Parks throughout the Comox Valley have reopened. Photo by Terry Farrell

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