Can I walk on the beach? A guide to what’s open and closed in Sarnia’s great outdoors

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Journal Staff

As Ontario begins lifting restrictions local residents have been left with a confusing mix of opening and closings at local parks, sports fields and outdoor areas.

To help clarify, the City of Sarnia has offered the following:

In general, picnic sites, benches, and shelters in parks and recreational areas are now open, provided users maintain a physical distance of at least two metres apart.

Also open are baseball diamonds, soccer fields, tennis, pickleball and basketball courts, BMX parks, and skate parks.

However, because Sarnia suspended student and seasonal staff hiring this summer, its ability to reopen and maintain some outdoor spaces has been impacted, City Hall said. Look for signs in your local park.

Sports fields can be used by members of a single household for casual play only. Organized teams and group sports still aren’t permitted under Ontario’s emergency orders.

Playgrounds are still closed, as are swimming pools, splash pads and fitness equipment.

Beaches are now open for passive recreational use, although the parking lots associated with beaches remain closed. While using the beach, users must maintain two-metre physical distancing, not congregate in groups of more than five, sanitize their hands, and stay home if showing symptoms.

Community tennis and pickleball courts at Germain Park, Cathcart Park, Kenwick Park, Tecumseh and Linden Park are open for single use tennis play. The Blackwell Park Pickleball Hub is open for single use play from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.

Basketball courts at Newton, Norma Cox Youth Centre – Tecumseh Park and Baxter Park are available for individual activity use.

Although Ontario has lifted restrictions on dog parks, the off-leash facility at Germain Park is closed until preseason maintenance can be completed, the city said. The privately owned Blackwell Trails Off Leash Dog Park is open.

Residents can use picnic tables, benches and shelters in parks and recreational areas, provided they use physical distancing measures. Shelters and pavilions are not being booked for gatherings. Use of park barbecues is prohibited.

Sarnia has cancelled spring and summer programs until at least July 3. That includes summer camps, recreation programs, summer concerts, waterfront programming, festivals, events, and swimming lessons.

A redesigned or modified program may be possible later, the city said.

Anyone already enrolled in a cancelled program will receive a full refund.

And starting Monday, May 25, marriage licence services will be available by appointment only.

Additional details are online: https://www.sarnia.ca/covid-19-information-2/

The city said staff cannot provide advice on the number of guests allowed to attend a planned wedding. For information on physical distancing guidelines, consult the Provincial Emergency Order.