Kids can use the swings as Premier backtracks on playground closures

Doug Ford says gatherings outside will still be enforced

Swings, slides and monkey bars are no longer off-limits in Premier Doug Ford’s Ontario.

Ford tweeted Saturday afternoon he is changing his government’s decision to close playgrounds.

“Our regulations will be amended to allow playgrounds, but gatherings outside will still be enforced. Play outside safely. Parents keep your distance & wear masks if you can’t,” Ford tweeted Saturday afternoon.

The City of Barrie said on Saturday afternoon it has been informed that off-leash dog parks can remain open.

On Friday, the Ford government announced new restrictions to deal with a surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

Playgrounds, basketball and tennis courts and golf courses were ordered closed. Interprovincial travel is banned except for essential reasons.

Police were also given powers to stop motorists and pedestrians to ask them where they live and why they are not at home. Since the announcement, numerous police services including Barrie and South Simcoe have said they will not randomly stop persons or vehicles.

The provincial stay-at-home order has been extended until May 20.

On Saturday, Ontario reported 4,362 new cases of COVID-19 and 34 more deaths.

For the first time since the pandemic began, the number of people hospitalized in the province with the virus has climbed above 2,000.