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Statement from Mayor Frank Scarpitti

For immediate release

May 22, 2020

More Space. More Options. Same Rules.

Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti

The City of Markham is taking a thoughtful and measured approach to reopening some of its outdoor facilities, while ensuring that community safety comes first. Our two-stage approach will see the following outdoor spaces and amenities reopen to the public, as of May 28, 2020:

  • Outdoor tennis courts

  • Sports fields including soccer and baseball

  • Skateboard parks

  • Off-leash dog parks

  • Park benches, park shelters and picnic tables

Other facilities to reopen on June 5, 2020:

  • Community gardens

  • Recycling depots

The City has chosen not to rush a reopening of facilities and services so we can fully inspect, clean, install proper signage and support our community groups that have asked for advice and consultation, as they too want to be cautious and implement the proper protocols. While more options for outdoor activities will be available soon, one thing remains constant, it is critical that we continue adhere to the same rules under Provincial Emergency Orders, including restrictions on social gatherings of more than five people and maintaining physical distancing of 2 metres. No team sports are allowed and no permits will be provided by the City of Markham for sports fields.

Playgrounds and basketball courts will remain closed in order to limit close contact, as will cultural venues. In the last couple of days, we have seen a gradual rise in COVID-19 infections across the province; if these trends continue, we are likely heading toward a shutdown of summer camps and a continued closure of all of our community centres until September at the earliest. Parents and guardians should start planning for alternate arrangements, although we are considering modified and limited programming options if possible.

All large-scale city supported events are cancelled until August 31, 2020. We are examining ways to limit large gatherings while still connecting as a community using different and innovative approaches.

The City of Markham is proud to have kept our parks and trails open during the COVID-19 pandemic, understanding that it is important for people to spend time outdoors. Markham has one of the lowest percentages of community spread and we want to maintain that position and avoid a second wave. This phased in approach to reopening strikes the right balance while moving toward recovery safely and carefully, as always, caution is key.

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