Vancouver Park Board reopening fitness centres and arenas while city allows alcohol consumption at four plazas

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      While the current weather makes it easy for getting outside for exercise, that’s not always the case in Raincouver—and even more so when autumn rolls around.

      Gyms and fitness facilities across the city have been reopening, and the Vancouver Park Board is also joining in by doing the same in time to prepare for the fall.

      Meanwhile, an outdoor pilot program for outdoor drinking in Vancouver kicks off today to allow people to enjoy a sip at various plazas while the sunshine lasts.

      Fitness centres and arenas

      The Vancouver Park Board closed down fitness centres and arenas during the onset of the pandemic in March.

      However, Vancouver Park Board recreation director Daisy Chin, in a news release, recognizes that their fitness centres are important for both physical and mental health, and serve as “provide low-barrier options which meet the needs of a wide range of residents of various ages and abilities”. 

      The park board announced today (August 10) that 12 fitness centres will reopen in mid-September.

      After that, the remaining 12 fitness centres will reopen later in the autumn as part of a phased reopening process.

      These fitness centres will reopen with health precautions in place, including physical distancing and an online reservation system (20 percent of spaces will be allocated for drop-ins).

      In addition, arenas at Kerrisdale, Sunset, and Trout Lake will reopen on September 21, and remaining arenas will reopen in October, all with health and safety measures implemented.

      Arenas will only be available for organized play by permit holders in the first phase of reopening but will eventually expand to the general public.

      Indoor pools

      Meanwhile, Chin also stated that the park board has been developing a reopening plan for indoor pools, also with a phased approach. A reopening timeline will be provided in the near future.

      Chin said the park board is anticipating funding support to be provided by provincial and federal governments for the indoor pools.

      “We’re still navigating the realities of this pandemic, including a reduction in expected revenues,” Chin explained. “It's important that we take time to carefully consider the long-term financial implications before committing to firm dates.”  

      The park board has been progressively reopening various spaces and facilities shut down at the beginning of the pandemic, including golf courses, tennis and pickleball courts, pitch and putt, skate parks, sports fields, basketball and volleyball courts, disc golf, roller hockey, multisport courts, playgrounds, spray parks, outdoor pools, VanDusen Botanical Garden, Bloedel Conservatory, and priority programs.

      One of four outdoor plazas where Vancouverites can drink alcohol is šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énḵ Square at the Vancouver Art Gallery's north plaza.
      City of Vancouver

      Outdoor alcohol consumption at plazas

      The City of Vancouver had previously announced on July 30 that a temporary pilot program would begin that would allow people to bring their own alcohol to drink at specific locations.

      The locations and permitted times are:

      • šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl'e7énk Square at the Vancouver Art Gallery’s North Plaza: from 12 to 9 p.m.;

      • Lot 19 at Hornby and West Hastings: from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.;

      • Bute-Robson South Plaza: from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.;

      • 17th Avenue and Cambie Street temporary plaza: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. 

      The program is being managed and monitored by the city with business improvement associations, and will continue until mid-October.

      Anyone interested in providing feedback about the program can do so through an online survey

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook.