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COVID-19: Some ‘problematic parks’ in Ottawa could see 9 p.m. curfews

The City of Ottawa is moving to allow ward councillors to put curfews of 9 p.m. on some local parks in hopes of helping to enforce Ontario’s COVID-19 stay-home order.

City staff said in a memo Wednesday morning that “large public gatherings, parties and other activities” in local parks have put the public’s health at risk.

Green spaces such as Mooney’s Bay and the federally managed Vincent Massey Park have been the subject of debate over the need for regulations this week after reports of disturbances in the area over the weekend.

Mayor Jim Watson had floated instituting a curfew of 8 p.m. in city-owned parks to curb such behaviour. Some ward councillors and members of the public pushed back against the idea as ineffective.

Read more:
Quebec premier tells young people to ‘respect the rules’ as emergency COVID-19 measures extended

The latest version of the policy will put the power in ward councillors’ hands and would drop the current park closing hours to 9 p.m. from 11 p.m. Parks will still open at 5 a.m. even if measures are put in place.

The regulations will only be subject to Ottawa-owned parks, but the National Capital Commission, which manages Vincent Massey Park, has said it is working with the city on mitigating issues at the federal site.

Ottawa health and bylaw officials will respond to questions about enforcement of the new regulations later on Wednesday.

City council also approved an extension Wednesday morning to the local mask bylaw mandating wearing masks in indoor public places in Ottawa until at least Aug. 26.

More to come.

Click to play video: Managing COVID-19 exposure risks while outdoors

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