COVID-19: City Welcomes Moving to Next Phase of Reopening

Posted On Tuesday June 09, 2020

The City of Thunder Bay welcomes the announcement from the Province that the Thunder Bay District can proceed with the next phase of reopening plans.

With the Province’s announcement yesterday, the City is continuing work on planning for certain summer facilities, programs and services in July and August, including some day camps and neighbourhood programs, Sandy Beach operations and patios at the City-operated Golf Courses. The City is assessing legislation and operating guidelines related to the City’s splash pads. Planning is guided by the City’s reopening principles and new guidelines for operating.

“We appreciate that the Province is allowing regional flexibility to support the hard work we have done to keep our city and district safe,” said Mayor Bill Mauro. “As our businesses reopen, I encourage them and everyone who supports them to put safety first. We must continue to follow the guidance of public health – to wash hands regularly, practice physical distancing, wear a cloth mask when physical distancing is not practical such as while shopping or on the bus, and stay home if sick. We are looking forward to being out in our community more, using the knowledge we’ve gained on how to reduce the spread of COVID-19. ”

City Administration will be working with retail and restaurant owners to allow access to public space where appropriate to help them re-open and have their customers social distance.

Given the reality of operating during these times, programs will not look the same as they have previously.

The City’s reopening plans take into account health and safety including personal protective equipment needs, staffing impacts, facility considerations including physical distancing plans, technology requirements and consultation and communication with stakeholders. Once regulations are in place to allow services to open, lead times of two to six weeks are required to assess impacts and get the required resources and changes in place.

The City is also providing emergency child care to frontline workers through Algoma Child Care Centre. More details on the City’s plans for child care facilities will be available after the City reviews and assesses Provincial protocols and operational impacts.

While outdoor pools are among summer services including campgrounds and amusement rides that Council has approved to remain closed, attention can now turn to indoor pools for consideration including assessing legislation and operating guidelines and their impacts.

A report with reopening recommendations for indoor pools and other facilities permitted to open in Phase 2 will be presented to Council later this month (June 22).

“City staff have been working hard on reopening plans at the same time as they reopen certain facilities as the Province lifts restrictions,” said City Manager Norm Gale. 

“We recognize this is a difficult time for families and we are committed to providing quality, safe programming during these unprecedented times. We are all looking forward to resuming safe activities that support the well-being of residents. We are proud of our employees and their dedication during this difficult time for all residents including them and their families.

They appreciate the cooperation of all residents in making sure they continue to practice physical distancing and follow any restrictions put in place to keep City facilities, programs and services safe for everyone.”
As City staff work on reopening plans, they are guided by the following principles:

Safety First: “Our first priority is protecting the health and safety of the public and employees. Facilities, programs and services will only re-open when it is safe to do so. We will follow the direction and guidance of the Province and public health.”

Value for money: “We will put a priority on reopening programs and services that deliver highest value at best cost under the current circumstances and identify opportunities to cancel or defer reopening or adjust services to support cost containment. “

Create Opportunity: “We will consider innovative and adaptive ways to serve the community and invest strategically to support economic recovery.”

The City of Thunder Bay has already reopened some park amenities and recreation facilities as restrictions were eased by the province. Highlights of reopenings to date include:

  • Strathcona and Chapples Municipal Golf Courses
  • The Thunder Bay Tennis Centre and three courts located in municipal parks
  • Four dog parks located at Beverley, Centennial Park, Hillyard, and the Westfort Playfield
  • Recreational boating at the Marina and five local boat launches
  • Chippewa Park
  • Outdoor sports facilities and multi-use fields including 43 baseball diamonds, 17 soccer fields, 18 tennis courts, 20 basketball courts, seven skateboard/BMX parks, six permanent boarded rinks, four pickleball courts, one volleyball court, and one disc golf course
  • Outdoor picnic sites and benches including seven sheltered picnic areas

For up to date information on service changes, visit the City’s A-Z Service Directory:

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Contact: Stacey Levanen, Supervisor – Corporate Communications, 625-3650

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