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Innisfil begins to reopen recreational amenities

'This is the first time it hasn't been crowded’

Innisfil’s parks, including amenities like picnic tables, park benches, sports fields and tennis courts, officially reopened on Saturday, as COVID-19 restrictions were eased.

The weather couldn’t have been better – sunny skies, and a warm 24 degrees C – but there wasn’t exactly a surge in use.

On Saturday morning, most Innisfil parks were empty.

At Innisfil Beach Park, there was a slight uptick in activity – with walkers, joggers and cyclists on the trails, a pair of tennis players on the reopened courts, and a line-up of Innisfil residents waiting to use the boat launch.

Even so, it was very different than previous May 24 weekends.

Alcona residents Shelly Skinner and Trace Rapos noticed the difference immediately.

“It’s been our tradition to go out on the lake on May 24. This is the first time it hasn’t been crowded,” said Rapos.

They had traded in their kayaks for paddleboards, for the new season, and were excited to be able to get out and on the lake.

Barrie residents Julie and Phillip Dunaiskis made their first visit of the year to Innisfil Beach Park, while their dog was at an Innisfil dog groomer – and were all smiles as they enjoyed a stroll along the lakeshore. 

There are still COVID-19 restrictions in place: visitors are asked to practice social distancing; all team sports are still banned; and washrooms, basketball courts and the beaches remain closed at this time.

But it was a start.

Innisfil Mayor Lynn Dollin had a message for all of those eager to get out and enjoy the fine weather.

“While we are happy to be able to provide more options for residents to be out in the fresh air and sunshine, it’s very important that we don’t undo all the good work we have done, keeping the virus at bay in our town,” said the mayor.

She reminded everyone to “stay six feet (two metres) away from anyone you don’t live with – and no gatherings of more than five!”