While Niagara Region Public Health has reported the risks surrounding COVID-19 remain low to residents, the City of St. Catharines has opted to move forward with closures of all recreational and community facilities to limit spread of the virus.
Last Thursday the City activated its Emergency Operations Centre in response to the spread of the virus. As of the writing of this article on March 14, there have been two confirmed cases in the Niagara Region. Despite these cases, it is not the current belief of health professionals that the virus is circulating locally in the community. As a precautionary measure to ensure continued containment of the virus, many St. Catharines facilities have been keeping up enhanced disinfection efforts and have enacted a series of closures.
Effective until April 5, the following facilities will be closed to the public:
- All Older Adult Centres including those on Dunlop Drive, in West St. Catharines and in the community of Port Dalhousie.
- All recreation centres including those on Russell Avenue and in the community of Port Weller.
- All arenas including Seymour-Hannah Sports and Entertainment Centre, Garden City Complex and Bill Burgoyne Arena.
- All branches of the St. Catharines Public Library.
- The St. Catharines Kiwanis Aquatics Centre.
- The St. Catharines Museum and Welland Canal Centre.
- All sports fields including Kiwanis Field.
- The St. Catharines Farmers Market and Market Square.
- The Meridian Centre.
- The FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre.
As a result of these closures, all programs including those to be run during March break and third-party events at the above locations have been cancelled. Several special events throughout the City of St. Catharines have also been cancelled or delayed as a result of the closures.
“We are taking various precautionary measures and adjusting our operations to ensure the health and safety of our employees, residents and the greater community. We will continue to do so as the situation changes,” said Shelley Chemnitz, St. Catharines’ chief administrative officer. “We are making every effort to ensure essential City services residents rely on continue to be available.”
Burials will continue at Victoria Lawn Cemetery, however all other services at that facility will be unavailable during the closure period. Civil marriage ceremonies are also being cancelled until further notice. In addition, water meter replacements, repairs and in-house water sampling have been discontinued moving forward.
While the City recognizes the closures will impact a host of users and organizations it is necessary, for the health of the public, to enact these precautionary measures. All individuals impacted by these closures will have their facility rental fees refunded without penalty and staff will continue to work to reschedule events.
For the most up to date information and more on the City’s efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19, including further closures, keep up with The Brock Press on twitter @TheBrockPress. For more information on COVID-19 visit www.stcatharines.ca/COVID19, www.niagararegion.ca/health/covid-19 or www.canada.ca/coronavirus. To stay updated on FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre show and performance postponements or cancellations visit www.firstontariopac.ca.