On Friday, Guelph and its public health affiliated neighbours managed to avoid going into level Red-Control, the final condition before being forced to return to lockdown. But the numbers are not in our favour, and the City of Guelph announced Monday that they do not intend to be caught off-guard if its announced that we’re being moved into red. In other words, enjoy some indoor recreation and fitness facilities while you can.
Under Red-Control, the City will close all indoor arenas, pools, and fitness facilities, while outdoor rinks, parks and tails will remain open.
“We’re not there yet, but we’re not far from it. With local cases still increasing, we’re preparing for what may come next,” said DCAO of Public Services Colleen Clack-Bush in a statement. “Sports and recreation facilities pose the biggest challenge; we want to encourage people to stay active and healthy, and limit interaction among people who don’t live together. We’re working to support teams, coaches, parents and participants as our situation continues to change.”
According to provincial guidelines, sports and rec facilities can only allow entry to 10 people at any given time under Red-Control, but Clack-Bush said that this would be unpractical for the pools and rinks that the City operates. The City’s plan will also go further by pausing team sports, practices and training in City facilities, as well as all drop-in or registered classes and programs.
“It’s disappointing, but we believe it’s the right thing to do,” Clack-Bush added. “COVID-19 cases are still increasing despite restrictions in place throughout the province. We have to do something more to flatten the curve.”
Service counters at rec centres will remain open so that people can purchase Transit passes and do other City business. Registration for rec programs in January will also be unaffected and will begin as scheduled on Wednesday, but if COVID restrictions or low enrollment force the cancellation of classes then residents will given a complete refund.
Level Red-Control will have no impact on the hours of operation at City Hall or the Provincial Offences building. The Farmers’ Market will remain open on Saturday morning, and will limit indoor shopping to 75 people at a time. Guelph Transit schedules will remain unaffected, and the Guelph Public Library branches will remain open, though the Scottsdale branch will have reduced hours and will be closed on Sundays.
For the full list of changes to hours and operations at City of Guelph facilities, consult the City of Guelph’s COVID-19 information page here.
According to Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health, the test positivity rate in our region is 2.7 per cent, meaning for every 100 tests processed there are about three people that test positive for COVID-19. For the week of November 22, there were 158 new cases of COVID diagnosed, which is not only the record high for new cases weekly, it’s the third week in a row that a new record’s been set, except not there’s almost twice as many cases as the week of March 29.
On Monday, Public Health reported 76 new cases of the virus over Friday, Saturday and Sunday, to bring the number of active cases up to 174. By area, there are 59 cases in Guelph, 52 in Wellington County, 30 in Dufferin County, and 33 that are unassigned. The escalation in cases in Wellington County seems have tapered off, but late last week Warden Kelly Linton told county council that they might be “pulling our whole region into red.”