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Dog parks to open this week, playgrounds to remain closed

Dog owners will soon be able to take advantage of the outdoor off-leash parks, as the City of Grande Prairie is expecting to open the gates as this week. Manager of Parks and Transportation Robert Carroll says despite the parks being closed for the better part of two months, they feel comfortable at this point opening up the dog areas which, so long as the public continues to maintain proper separation from one another.

“Dog parks are a little bit different, and there is no evidence that shows dogs can transmit the virus,” he says. “As long as dog owners behave themselves by following hygiene protocols and social distancing, it’s a logical next step to allow people to use these facilities.”

While unable to give a specific reopen date, Carroll says the main issue facing staff is getting revised signs made for the dog park space, with reminders about social distancing expected to be highly visible throughout all three city-run spaces.

Those waiting on playgrounds to reopen, however, will have to wait a little while longer. All city-owned parks in Grande Prairie will remain wrapped in caution tape for the foreseeable future. Carroll says the safety risks simply remain too high to contemplate a full opening.

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“Playgrounds are places where people are touching things all the time, and the virus has shown to live on hard surfaces for quite some time,” he says.

Carroll says they’ll continue an eye on other jurisdictions and listening to provincial advice before making a final decision as to when playgrounds will be reopened.

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