Yellow tape cut, outdoor recreation facilities to reopen with reminder of new rules of the games

It’s in your court now. 

And in your hands, too.

That was the message served up by Interim City Manager Adam Laughlin as the City moved to reopen playgrounds, outdoor fitness parks, courts, skateparks, disc golf and athletic tracks that had been temporarily closed to protect Edmontonians from COVID-19. 

“We expect Edmontonians to enjoy these spaces safely, by following Alberta Health requirements: physical distancing, enhanced hygiene and sanitization and limiting exposure to the size of the group permitted,” Laughlin told a physically distanced meeting of City Council. 

“For the reopening to be successful, Edmontonians and the City must demonstrate shared accountability for respecting the new rules that will be in place.”

City crews have begun removing yellow tape and unlocking courts. The facilities are beginning to open starting on Friday, May 22, so if barriers are still up, please give City crews the time to do their work. 

City crews remove tape at Castle Downs playground, May 21, 2020.

Play responsibly, stay safe

No matter what sport or leisure activity is on your list, the health rules of the game still apply. That means: 

Keep gatherings at 50 people or less. 

Maintain two metres between others not in your household or cohort family. (Understand what is meant by a cohort family, too. Keep reading 😄)
Share sports or play equipment only with members of your household or cohort family. 
Disinfect personal sports equipment before and after use. 
👏 Wash or sanitize your hands frequently. 
Don’t touch your face with unclean hands. 

Here’s a quick rundown of what’s reopening—and what’s not—and some of the key reminders about how to enjoy the facilities in the COVID-19 era—and what to expect.

Woodcroft playground

Playgrounds

Children may find it difficult to avoid touching their eyes, nose or mouth. This can lead to the spread of the virus to playground equipment, other children and other families. 

Consider visiting playgrounds only in your neighbourhood. 

Pack hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol content and use it right before and right after using playground equipment.

Thorncliff Park

Sports courts

Whether you’re playing tennis, pickleball, badminton, volleyball, basketball or any other court sport, remember to play only with members of your own household or a cohort family, especially if you’re sharing a ball or other equipment. You and a friend can also use these areas casually if you keep physical distance and don’t share equipment. 

When playing singles tennis casually with a friend, please bring your own marked equipment (e.g.: tennis balls) and touch only the tennis balls you bring.  

(Basically, a cohort family is a group of people close to you who have made sure they don’t pose a risk of infection.) 

Grand Trunk sports field

Sports fields, athletic tracks

It’s important to remember that the reopened outdoor facilities are intended for casual use.

No league play is yet allowed.

Groups can use the space to practise if they ensure that participants physically distance, use separate equipment and do not make accidental contact.

Grand Trunk baseball diamond

Activities in public spaces should not include equipment shared in common, unless you are from the same household. Please remember to clean and disinfect personal equipment before and after your homerun.

McKernan skate park

Skateparks

Please wait your turn to use ramps and bars. Consider wearing a mask. Bring your own hand sanitizer and water. 

Parks and open spaces

Picnic sites are open for casual use by groups of 50 people or fewer. Sites are not yet bookable.

Consider wearing a mask to limit the risk of spread to others, and bring your own food, drinks and utensils. 

If you’re throwing a ball or frisbee around, or playing games like bocce, keep the participants to those within your household or cohort family. Passing a soccer ball between non-family members is also okay.

Keep your distance from each other, whether during the activity or moving to and from common areas like trailheads, boat launches and parking lots.

Hawrelak Park

Keep it clean

There are fewer City workers out there this summer. That means you might see more garbage in the cans, so, do what you can to keep your space clean for those who use it next. 

Splash parks remain closed

Spray parks closed

All City operated outdoor pools and spray parks and fountains, including the City Hall fountain, remain closed for the summer season.

Thanks for reading, and being in it together.

Editor’s note: the pic at the top of the post shows the tennis courts at the Grand Trunk Fitness and Leisure Centre. The pic above shows City crews removing yellow tape from Castle Downs playground on May 21, 2020.