City of Vernon Recreation Services director Doug Ross said May 8, 2020, staff is planning ahead to reopen safely amid COVID-19 pandemic, but it may be ‘some time’ before indoor facilities reopen. (City of Vernon - photo)

COVID-19: Some time before indoor rec reopens in Vernon, director says

City of Vernon Recreation Services looks to province for guidelines on reopening programs, camps

The premier’s four-phase plan to reopen the province has given the City of Vernon the information to help guide its decisions around the timing of reopening outdoor recreation spaces and Greater Vernon Recreation Services facilities and programs.

But Recreation Services said it will be sometime before its indoor facilities will be reopened to members of the public.

Premier John Horgan announced the Restart Plan Wednesday, May 6, and emphasized steps to reopen facilities, such as the recreation centre, would be slow and deliberate. He also said gatherings of more than 50 will not be allowed for the foreseeable future.

Recreation Services is working closely with BC Recreation and Parks Association (BCRPA) to develop a framework guiding the reintroduction of activity, programs and recreation to Vernonites, while maintaining appropriate physical distancing and health directives outlined by Dr. Bonnie Henry, the provincial health officer.

“We will be working with the BCRPA to develop enhanced protocols that align with public health and safety guidelines, including but not limited to: limiting numbers to reduce contacts, physical distancing, improved hygiene and increased cleaning of touch points,” Recreation Services director Doug Ross said in a statement issued Friday, May 8.

The BCRPA is also working closely with VIA Sport, the organization tasked by the province to provide direction for the reopening of organized sports in B.C.

VIA Sport will be working with Provincial Sport Organizations to create guidelines and plans around reintroducing sports in a safe manner.

“By working with these organizations, the City of Vernon will be able to better navigate the decisions that will need to be made on how and when to reopen facilities,” Ross said.

“Initially, we are going to be focusing on what outdoor activities and summer camps we can offer,” he said. “However, it will be some time before indoor facilities are reopened.”

READ MORE: Vernon Farmer’s Market weathering the challenges of COVID-19

READ MORE: White Heart campaign grows brighter in Vernon


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