Haldimand & Norfolk Counties are working closely with the Medical Officer of Health to safely re-open parks & trails for resident use. Both counties intend to re-open these spaces for walk-through access this weekend and are asking for the public’s cooperation in practicing social distancing guidelines.

The decision to re-open trails is largely due to the efforts of residents who have been following public health guidelines and doing their part to flatten the curve. Both counties are grateful for the public’s cooperation and acting with the community’s well-being in mind. The more diligently everyone practices social distancing, the sooner everyone will be able to get back to the activities they enjoy most.

Residents walking or cycling on trails or through parks should remain 2 metres apart and groups of more than 5 people remain prohibited. People are not permitted to gather, picnic or congregate in the parks at this time.

Residents should also note that it will take some time for staff to visit all areas and remove existing closure signs. Over the weekend, people using the trails/walking through parks and practicing social distancing should not be concerned about receiving a ticket for doing so.

“We are in a unique situation in Haldimand, being a desirable place to visit during a worldwide pandemic, on the cusp of peak tourism season. As warm weather approaches, we are going to have to work together to cooperate and share our outdoor spaces responsibly,” said Haldimand County Mayor Ken Hewitt. “The intent of re-opening trails and parks is to allow local residents enjoy the green spaces in their own communities & get the physical and mental exercise we all need,” Hewitt continued.

“We’ve all been cooped up inside for a long time, and I know many of us are looking forward to getting some much-needed time outdoors,” said Mayor Chopp. “Mayor Hewitt and I have heard from many residents who are keen to safely use these areas, so we’re very pleased to be working with our Medical Officer of Health on getting them re-opened for public use.”

Both Hewitt & Chopp ask for the public’s continued patience while re-opening details are finalized. To ensure residents get adequate access to community green spaces and trails and to prevent further transmission of the virus, both Counties, with direction from the Medical Officer of Health, are discouraging non-residents from visiting until the public health emergency is over. Most parking lots of trailheads and parks will remain closed to discourage large volumes of people from traveling to these destinations.

In accordance with Provincial Orders, boat launches, piers, playgrounds, pavilions, sporting fields/courts and other outdoor amenities will remain closed until further notice in an effort to protect community safety.

To ensure continued access to parks, residents are urged to demonstrate personal responsibility, practice social distancing and not take advantage of public green spaces (e.g: congregate in groups) so they can be enjoyed, especially as warmer weather approaches.