Norfolk residents who want to go swimming this summer will have to go jump in the lake.
That is, if they can find a beach where they can socially distance safely and not catch the COVID-19 coronavirus.
On June 30, Norfolk council approved a broad spectrum of recreational activities and programming for the next two months. However – due to maintenance issues and the commitment of staff to other priorities – this does not include the Annaleise Aquatic Centre in Simcoe or the Kinsmen Pool in Delhi.
And all activities that have been approved come with stipulations arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and public health protocols related to the same. Bill Cridland, Norfolk’s general manager of community and emergency services, said this state of affairs may persist into the fall and possibly beyond.
“We may not know more by Oct. 1 than we know now,” Cridland said. “It could be a different world, for better or for worse.”
While the county’s swimming pools will be closed, the Simcoe Kinsmen Splash Park and the Delhi Splash Park will open shortly with conditions on usage.
As well, summer ice will soon be available at the Tricenturena in Waterford — also with conditions related to social distancing and provincial regulations governing crowd size and congregate settings.
Ball diamonds and sports parks will open but only for training and fitness purposes. Competitive play in Ontario remains forbidden across a wide range of sports until further notice.
There will also be conditions on who can watch from the sidelines and how many. Public washrooms will not be available, nor will dressing rooms and places where players gather in close proximity such as dugouts, change rooms and clubhouses.
The county plan includes other closures aside from swimming pools. Among them are museums, which will offer virtual programming on the internet instead, the Simcoe Lawn Bowling Club, pavilions, the Delhi Friendship Centre, and the Adult Community Building in Simcoe, which is home to the Simcoe Seniors Centre, the Young Theatre Players, the Artists Workshop, and the Norfolk Potters Guild.
Plans are to re-open the Delhi Friendship Centre and the Adult Community Building “after Oct. 1,” according to Cridland’s report.
Speaking as a deputation from a remote location, Gord Malo of Simcoe encouraged council to press forward with its plan to offer summer ice at the Tricenturena in Waterford.
Malo said the forced closure of schools in March along with competitive sports leagues has “no doubt inflicted considerable harm” on young people.
“This will bring a smile to their faces and to the faces of their parents too,” Malo said.
Young people will have an opportunity to stretch their legs in August when Norfolk offers two month-long day camps.
One will focus on golf while the other will focus on racquet sports. These were chosen because they are done outdoors and lend themselves to social-distancing health regulations.
As for community halls, they remain available but with challenging conditions attached.
Norfolk’s community services department will rent a hall for any occasion provided users can guarantee occupancy of no more than 10 people at a time. As well, users will have to commit to a $400 deep-cleaning fee on top of the regular rental rate.
“We didn’t see this as economically feasible,” Cridland said. “But if someone said they would pay the $400 cleaning fee as well as the rental fee I’m sure we would open it up.”