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The following guidance is intended to help with clarification of general public health measures as mandated in Ontario Regulation 82/20 Rules for Areas in Stage 1 and described in the COVID-19 Response Framework for sports and recreational facilities.

This page provides additional guidance for owners and operators of indoor recreational facilities, including gymnasiums, health clubs, community centres, multi-purpose facilities, arenas, exercise studios, yoga and dance studios, and other fitness facilities to ensure public safety.

To support safe operations in sports and recreational facilities, operators must also abide by:

Visit WECHU’s Local Pandemic Status page for updates on Windsor-Essex’s status level, links to provincial guidance, and a summary of current provincial requirements and local enhanced measures.

COVID-19 Response Framework Measures

  • Facilities for indoor or outdoor sports and recreational fitness activities are closed except for:
    • The sole use of high performance athletes including parasport athletes, and specified professional leagues (e.g., NHL, CFL, MLS, NBA)
    • Specified purposes (e.g., day camps, child care)
  • Community centres and multi-purpose facilities are permitted to be open for certain activities (e.g., child care services, day camps, social services such as mental health or addictions support)
  • Outdoor recreational amenities (e.g., ice rinks, ski hills, snow trails) are open with restrictions (e.g., no team sports)

For additional clarity, the following outdoor recreational amenities may remain open in Grey-Lockdown:

  1. Parks and recreational areas.
  2. Baseball diamonds.
  3. Batting cages.
  4. Soccer, football and sports fields.
  5. Tennis, platform tennis, table tennis and pickleball courts.
  6. Basketball courts.
  7. BMX parks.
  8. Skate parks.
  9. Golf courses and driving ranges.
  10. Frisbee golf locations.
  11. Cycling tracks and bike trails.
  12. Horse riding facilities.
  13. Shooting ranges, including those operated by rod and gun clubs.
  14. Outdoor ice rinks.
  15. Ski hills.
  16. Snow trails, including snowmobile, cross country ski and snow shoe trails.
  17. Playgrounds.
  18. Portions of parks or recreational areas containing outdoor fitness equipment.

These above listed outdoor amenities MUST comply with the following:

  • 2m physical distancing is maintained between individuals at all times within the amenity
  • Team sports are NOT played or practiced
  • Locker rooms, change rooms, showers and clubhouses remain closed, except to the extent they provide access to a washroom or a portion of the amenity that is used to provide first aid

Windsor-Essex County Health Unit – Specific Enhanced Measures

Recreational Centres:

  • Strictly follow the number of people allowed in the establishment under the regulations.

  • Maintain lists with names and contact information of anyone entering the facility to assist with contact tracing in the event of an exposure.

COVID-19 Safety Plan

For health unit regions in Yellow, Orange or Red status, a COVID-19 safety plan must be completed for sports and recreational facilities and provided to the Health Unit upon request.

Visit the COVID-19 Workplace Safety Plan Requirements webpage for details and templates for download.

Non-Medical Face Masks, Face Coverings, and Eye Protection

Ontario’s COVID-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open mandates the wearing of face coverings in indoor public places and workplaces. Municipalities and organizations have created further regulations through the development of face-covering policies. Several local municipalities have included further spaces where masks are required by passing by-laws.

  • The wearing of face masks does not replace other important public health measures, such as physical distancing, proper hand hygiene, coughing and sneezing into a tissue or sleeve and staying home when feeling ill.

 Signage and Screening

Every patron/customer/staff member that enters the facility/workplace must be screened for COVID-19 symptoms and risk factors. There are two different types of screening:

  • Passive screening: people assess their own risk factors and make the decision themselves. Post clear signage at all entrances with screening questions and instructions. If active screening of patrons entering a facility is not possible (for example, public transit, grocery stores), post signage instructing people with symptoms not to enter. Note: for retail stores, screening is only required at entrance to shopping malls, and not individual stores.
  • Active screening: an employer ensures that the information is collected and reviewed to determine whether a person may enter the workplace. Actively screen staff using the COVID-19 Screening Tool for Workplaces. This includes workers, volunteers, suppliers, and contractors.
  • Post signage at entrances and throughout the building that clearly communicate procedures for physical distancing between staff and users/visitors. This include posters and floor markings such as instructional tape/stickers that direct the flow of people waiting for services, equipment, or in other waiting areas. Examples of signage can be found in the Resources & Signage section of the WECHU website.
  • Collect contact information from all patrons who enter the facility (name, contact information, dates and times). These records must comply with privacy requirements and could support case and contact tracing by the local public health unit in the event of an outbreak.
  • Post signage to communicate entry procedures such as hand sanitizing, sneeze and cough etiquettewearing of cloth masks, and/or screening for symptoms.
  • Ensure employees are aware of common COVID-19 symptoms and in addition to active screening upon arrival, instruct them to complete a daily provincial screening tool for workplaces before reporting to work.
  • Provide training to employees on effective hand hygiene practices and if required, the proper way to put on and remove PPE such as masks, face shields, gowns, and gloves.

General Cleaning and Disinfecting

  • Ensure there is always sufficient supply of approved disinfecting solution or wipes, and an alcohol-based hand rub (hand sanitizer) with a minimum of 60% alcohol content, liquid hand soap, and paper towels. These should be easily accessible to employees.
  • Enough time should be allocated to allow for the cleaning and disinfecting of sport and recreational fitness areas and equipment at established intervals (e.g., between bookings).
  • Clean and disinfect common use areas such as restrooms and, change rooms, showers, group exercise studios, work out areas and other high touch surfaces more frequently.
  • Fitness and sports equipment should be cleaned and disinfected frequently, such as between uses or at the end of play. This includes free weights, weight machines, treadmills, rowing machines, stationary bikes, classroom areas, balls, rackets, gloves, and other sports gear. It is recommended that a dedicated worker is available to ensure cleaning between uses.
  • Post signage directing members to clean their equipment and space before and after use and sanitize hands often during their workout. Be sure to provide plenty of cleaner, disinfectant, paper towels and garbage bins near work out equipment.
  • Minimize the need for touchpoints such as keys and lockers, and consider contactless check-in and touch-free payment systems.
  • Considering the suspension of towel and other rental services. If offered, towels should be clearly separated (clean and used), appropriately laundered (hot water 60° to 90° Celsius), and dried well). All other rented materials must be disinfected between each use.


Government of Ontario

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Last modified: 
Thursday, December 17, 2020 - 10:28am