Woolwich & Wellesley Township's Local Community Newspaper | Elmira, Ontario, Canada
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WMC reopens walking track with new guidelines

Outdoor activities still remain the most advisable given the COVID-19 pandemic, but the weather puts a different take on that. With that in mind, the township has now reopened the indoor walking track at the Woolwich Memorial Centre in Elmira.

It’s not a wholesale reopening, however, as the township is controlling the number of users and access times. Still, residents are eager to get back to using what is always a popular amenity, especially when the weather gets colder, says recreation manager Jennifer Horndl.

“We are really excited to have the amenity open. I think with the weather starting to turn colder and with it being dark and colder in the morning, it’s just nice to be able to have it open for some of our participants that would feel a lot safer walking here,” she said. 

“We are starting small,” Horndl added. Current capacity is capped at 10, and hours are Mondays through Fridays from 9:15-10:15 a.m. and once again in the afternoon for another hour starting at 1 p.m.   

She recommends users call ahead to register a spot, noting there may be expanded hours over time.

“We would love to have them back, and as demand warrants, we will look at adding additional time.” 

Guidelines around usage of recreational facilities have been largely standardized across Waterloo Region, the municipalities signing on to a joint program called Check before you Rec! With some differences based on differing facilities – size, points of entry, staffing levels and the like – the municipalities will be applying standard rules around pre-screening, physical distancing, use of face coverings and no re-entry after screening, measures developed in consultation with Region of Waterloo Public Health.

Prior to heading over to rec. facilities, participants are asked to check themselves with the mandatory pre-screening, as set by sports organization or municipal programming. If you are feeling unwell, stay home. Check to make sure you know the rules of the facility you are going to. And check that you understand the recommendations provided by the public health department.

The joint effort at recreational facilities is akin to the cooperation among municipalities seen at the management level, particularly the chief administrative officers, said Horndl.

“The CAOs of the region, everybody’s working quite closely during the pandemic, regionally. So the CAOs meet, the facility managers meet, the program staff meet, communications meet. There are all these kinds of different subcommittees. I think it came out of a need to build consistency within our recreation facilities,”she said of the impetus for “Check before you Rec!”

Along with prescreening, the guidelines include maintaining the six-foot distancing, mandatory face coverings, being dressed and ready for the program, no re-entry, and one guardian for minor-aged participants.   

Even though Waterloo Region is a closely knit community, there hasn’t been evidence suggesting that people are travelling from one rec. facility to the next and are staying to their local venues, she added.

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