Orillia pausing public programming at recreation facilities effective Dec. 31

News release – City of Orillia

The City of Orillia is temporarily pausing public programming at its recreation facilities effective Dec. 31, 2021 for a minimum of two weeks as the impacts of COVID-19 have led to a staff shortage.

“Similar to other municipalities and other sectors, we are in an unfortunate situation where we are experiencing a staff shortage at our recreation facilities due to COVID-19. This COVID-caused shortage affects our ability to offer public programming safely and so we have made the difficult decision to limit access to user groups only beginning Dec. 31, 2021,” said Mayor Steve Clarke. “We ask for your patience and understanding while we pause public programming at this time due to low staffing levels and we encourage residents to stay active outdoors and take advantage of our beautiful parks and trail system while maintaining distancing and adhering to public health measures.”

Please note the following impacts to City of Orillia recreation facilities and services:

  • Dec. 30, 2021 will be the last day for public access to Orillia recreation facilities for registered programs and pre-registered drop-in activities and programming.
  • All swimming lessons, registered programming and pre-registered drop-in fitness, swimming and public skating will be cancelled as of Dec. 31, 2021 until at least Jan. 14, 2022. Pro-rated refunds will be issued for any program participants impacted.
  • Access to recreation facilities including the Orillia Recreation Centre, Brian Orser Arena and Rotary Place will be limited to pre-booked user groups only. User groups will be contacted directly by staff.
  • All City-run New Year’s Eve activities are cancelled.
  • Pro-rated refunds will be issued for January memberships to the Orillia Recreation Centre.
  • All one-time private rentals will be cancelled for the time period. Staff will be contacting rentals directly to discuss rebooking or refund options.

Questions related to memberships or program refunds should be directed to recreation@orillia.ca, 705-325-4386 or visit orillia.ca/fun for details.

“In order to provide safe, quality programming at our recreation facilities, the municipality requires a large staff complement to complete the required COVID-19 screening, lifeguarding, and to operate the facilities for public use,” said Gayle Jackson, Chief Administrative Officer. “Throughout COVID-19 we have been challenged with staff recruitment for our contract positions and with wait times for assessments increased, rapid test availability decreased, and many staff required to self-isolate due to close contact, we are no longer able to maintain the minimum staffing required at this time. It is our hope that over the next few weeks the situation will improve so that we can resume providing quality programming to our community; however, we will need to reassess the situation closer to our anticipated reopening timeframe of mid-January.”

At this time, other City services and facilities remain operational, following capacity limits and public health measures as required by the Province and the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. Critical services, such as water, wastewater, road maintenance, waste collection and fire service continue. For a full list of COVID-19 impacts to City facilities and services and the City’s full holiday schedule, please visit orillia.ca/COVID-19.

As the Omicron variant continues to spread quickly across Ontario, the City will continue to monitor the local situation and adapt programs and services as required. Updates will be posted on the City’s website and on the City’s social media channels.

For City of Orillia COVID-19 information and updates visit orillia.ca/COVID-19. For COVID-19 updates, assessment centre information, and the latest vaccination information from the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, visit: simcoemuskokahealth.org/COVID19.

Banner image – file photo

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