Thunder Bay Starts to Prepare for Stage Red – Control on COVID-19

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As Ontario re-opens, it is likely that Thunder Bay will be in the Red Control zone

Thunder Bay – COVID-19 Update – “I know that it comes as a relief to many that we will soon be exiting the shutdown. However, we are not out of the woods with this pandemic,” says Dr. Janet DeMille, Medical Officer of Health. “The risk of the virus spreading in our area is very real. Everyone is asked to continue following all public health measures every day and with every interaction to protect our communities.”

The Government of Ontario placed the Thunder Bay District Health Unit (TBDHU) in the “Red – Control” zone of the provincial COVID-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open. Stringent public health measures will further help control the spread of COVID-19 in the TBDHU area. This move comes into effect on Tuesday, February 16, 2021, at 12:01 am EST.

The Red category of the Province’s COVID-19 Response Framework is outlined by the Province as “Broader-scale actions and restrictions across multiple sectors to control the spread. Restrictions are the most severe available before wide-scale business or organizational closings.”

“As we come out of the provincially mandated stay-at-home order, the Province has made the decision to move the Thunder Bay District Health Unit into the Red category,” said Mayor Bill Mauro. “This will allow for the reopening of some city facilities beginning next week, and will provide an opportunity for businesses to reopen with limited capacity.”

He added that while this is positive news for the community, it remains just as important as ever that residents adhere to all public health guidelines as there is little distinction between our current red category and being moved back into the grey lockdown designation.

Thunder Bay is part of the TBDHU zone, and the Province decides what level of the framework applies to the zone.

“In general terms, our approach is to continue to provide services where we are able and where not restricted by the Province,” said City Manager Norm Gale. “As always, our highest priority is the health and safety of employees, residents and anyone who uses City facilities and services.”

He added that not all facilities will reopen the day the orders are lifted, but that city staff are working hard to bring these services back to the community as quickly and safely as possible.

All Recreational Facilities

The following changes will be implemented upon moving to level Red at all Recreation & Culture facilities that plan to reopen:

  • Capacity limits, where physical distancing can be maintained, include:
    • 10 people in indoor areas with weights and exercise machines
    • 10 people in all indoor classes or 25 people in outdoor classes
    • No spectators permitted, however each person under 18 may be accompanied by one parent or guardian for supervision
  • Team sports must not be practiced or played except for training (no games or scrimmage)
  • Activities that are likely to result in individuals coming within two metres of each other are not permitted; no contact is permitted for team or individual sports

Additional facility-specific changes and reopening dates include:

Arenas

  • All arenas will reopen Feb. 17
  • Participant group size is maximum 10 plus organizational staff such as coaches, designates, managers and trainers
  • Call 625-2434 for booking inquiries

Canada Games Complex

  • Canada Games Complex will reopen Feb.22
  • The following will be closed during Red: weight rooms, cardio rooms, track, squash courts and Chronic Disease Management programs
  • Pool remains open for one-hour bookings
  • Fitness classes and programs will be offered on a reduced schedule with a maximum of nine participants and one instructor
  • Pre-booking for pool and fitness classes will be available starting February 18 at noon at: www.thunderbay.ca/cgc
  • Memberships may be continued for use of the pool and fitness programs, or they may be placed on hold until reverting back to level Orange. Call 684-3333 for membership inquiries

Churchill Pool

  • Churchill Pool will reopen Feb. 17
  • Call 577-2538 as of Feb. 16 to pre-book swimming activities for up to three days in advance

Volunteer Pool

  • Volunteer Pool remains closed at this time, with an anticipated reopening in March.

Community Centres

  • Current River, North McIntyre, Oliver Road, Vale and West Thunder will reopen gradually for limited programming between Feb. 16 and Mar. 1. Contact a centre directly for more information on available hours and bookings
  • Jumbo, North End, South Neebing and Vickers Heights will remain closed during the red stage.
  • Maximum 10 people seated for centres with restaurant service; take-out is also available at participating centres
  • Visit: www.thunderbay.ca/communitycentres for information

Thunder Bay 55 Plus Centre

  • The 55 Plus Centre will reopen Feb. 22, and programs are subject to change based on new capacity limits. You will be contacted to advise you of changes to Winter registered classes you have signed up for.
  • Credits will be issued for any cancelled registered classes up until the reopening date

West Arthur Community Centre

  • West Arthur Community Centre will reopen Feb. 25 for 55 Plus programming, and programs are subject to change based on new capacity limits. The centre will reopen Mar. 1 for other general community centre programming.
  • Credits will be issued for any cancelled registered classes up until the reopening date.

Outdoor Rinks, Trails, Conservatory

At the City’s outdoor rinks, organized games of any kind, including hockey/shinny, continue to be prohibited. Capacity at boarded rinks remains at a maximum of 25. Physical distancing of two metres between users who do not live in the same household is required, and masks are recommended. By-law officers and Parks staff are monitoring outdoor rinks for compliance.

Trails and sliding hills remain open. Physical distancing of two metres between users who do not live in the same household is required. The Botanical Conservatory will remain closed, pending review of the Regulations next week.

The City reminds residents that all City facilities operate under strict health and safety measures which must be adhered to by residents to limit the spread of COVID-19 and for the safety of facility patrons and City staff. Due to the rapidly changing nature of the pandemic, services are subject to ongoing assessment and potential change.

Appointment bookings for service at other City facilities such as City Hall and Victoriaville Civic Centre remain available. Residents can refer to the individual item in the A-Z Directory to find specific instructions.