The City of Saskatoon is closing all its leisure centres, libraries and indoor rinks to mitigate the risk of contracting COVID-19.
The city said it is effective Monday, March 16, and all facilities will remain closed until further notice.
“This was a difficult decision to make,” Pamela Goulden-McLeod, the city’s director of emergency management, said in a statement Sunday.
“We want to make sure we can maintain essential services and one of the ways we can do this is to limit non-essential contacts in the community, including for our staff.”
The closures extend to the Saskatoon Forestry Farm Park & Zoo, and all city-owned golf courses for pre-season sales.
Registration for spring and summer leisure programs will still go ahead starting at 6 p.m. Sunday.
“We’re working on a process right now to determine when we cancel those different programs,” Goulden-McLeod said.
“We know that there are lots of people registering for programs in June, July, August — and so at this time we think it’s important to continue those registrations.”
Officials said details on compensation for those affected by the closures will be provided at a later date, but Goulden-McLeod said all programs that have already been paid for will be honoured.
The city said the leisure centres are also no longer available for use as evacuation centres by outside organizations.
There are currently six presumptive COVID-19 cases in the province. None of the new cases are in Saskatoon.
Saskatoon activated its emergency operations centre on Friday to co-ordinate the city’s planning efforts.
Officials said the health, safety and well-being of their employees and members of the public, while maintaining essential services, are top priorities for the city.
The city said it has been monitoring and has been actively engaged in assessing the impact of COVD-19 and is in close contact with federal and provincial health agencies.
Goulden-McLeod said people should continue with their daily routines but pay attention to personal hygiene and social distancing.
Concerned about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Health officials say the risk is very low for Canadians.
Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease.
To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. And if you get sick, stay at home.
For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.
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