As British Columbia moves forward in their phased approach to loosening COVID-19 restrictions, the City of Fernie has begun reopening various businesses and outdoor recreation facilities as of Friday, May 15.
The initial phase of reopening amenities sees that all basketball courts, pickleball courts, Frisbee golf courses, tennis courts, the pump track at the Fernie bike park, and baseball diamonds are once again open to the public. All green spaces, parks, and trails that have remained accessible also remain open at this time, including the off leash area at the Rail Yard Dog Park.
Areas that continue to be off limits include the Max Turyk soccer pitch due to maintenance, as well as the skate park, playgrounds, the spray park, all public washrooms, the jump line at the Fernie bike park, and the sani-dump. The off leash area at the Annex Dog Park continues to remain closed for the time being, as do all playgrounds, facilities and fields part of School District Five.
Changes aside, the city continues to encourage residents to stay home if sick, to practice proper hygiene, keep socialization circles small, maintain distance when possible, and to refrain from league or organized play.
In the coming weeks, a Community Ambassador program will be launched alongside partners in the East Kootenay with direction from provincial guidance, in an effort to assist with reopening higher risk and more trafficked amenities.
These aforementioned changes are in compliance with the Government of British Columbia’s restart plan, which outlines a gradual reopening of businesses and facilities in the months to come. While the first phase required only essential services to continue operating during the pandemic, a transition into the second phase will see a gradual restoration of health services, openings in the retail sector, loosened restriction on various outdoor facilities, restarts of hair salons and other personal service establishments, possible openings of museums and libraries, and operating, yet reduced, restaurant and café openings. More information on phase two is expected to come from the province.