COVID-19 Update: Pools, Arenas and Fitness Centres

Sep 4, 2020

As Stage 3 of the Province’s COVID-19 restart plan continues to move forward, the City of Greater Sudbury has developed plans for the safe reopening of municipal pools and fitness centres.

“As fall approaches, seeing our indoor recreational facilities start to reopen is an encouraging next step in our fight against COVID-19,” said Greater Sudbury Mayor Brian Bigger. “But, like with every progressive step we’ve taken so far, we must remain diligent. While the numbers continue to move in the right direction, the virus has not disappeared. So whether you’re swimming laps or pumping iron, remember to keep your distance, wash your hands often, wear your mask where required and stay home if you’re feeling unwell.”

Leisure facilities were closed by provincial emergency orders in March 2020. Before the Province announced these facilities were permitted to reopen, the City began to review new restrictions and guidelines and develop reopening plans that consider staff resources, Public Health requirements and financial implications. Due to the extensive safety protocols required, as well as uncertain demand and traditional lower usage during the summer months, further evaluation was required.

In line with provincial orders and Public Health directives, a number of safety measures will be in place when these facilities reopen. Masks or face coverings will also be required upon entering a facility and in all common areas when the actual activity is not underway.

The schedule for reopening municipal public pools is as follows:
• Howard Armstrong Recreation Centre pool will reopen to the public on September 8
• Nickel District will reopen September 10
• R.G. Dow and Onaping will reopen September 14
• Due to a mechanical issue, Gatchell is expected to open later in September. An exact date will be provided in the coming weeks.

In addition to established provincial and public health guidelines for the operation of indoor pools, reopening plans will also follow the key recommendations put in place by the Lifesaving Society Ontario. New protocols will include, but are not limited to:
• No drop-in participation. All users must register for an available timeslot for recreational swims through the online registration system at or by calling 311 or the facility. Registration will open at 7 a.m. on September 8.
• Timeslots have been scheduled to accommodate cleaning requirements throughout the day.
• Swimming lesson offerings will be phased in throughout the fall once facilities open. A limited number of lessons will be available.
• Program locations and start times will be staggered to allow for proper disinfecting of high-touch areas.
• Diving boards, saunas, hot tubs, lockers and shared pool equipment, such as flutter boards, will not be available. Showers are available for rinse off only.
• Participants are encouraged to attend the facility dressed in pool attire.
• Staff will monitor usage and adjust schedules as required.

Fitness Centres
Work is also underway to prepare the City’s five fitness centres to open beginning September 8. New protocols will include, but are not limited to:
• Members must register for an available timeslot through the online registration system at or by calling 311 or the facility. Registration will open at 7 a.m. on September 8.
• Timeslots have been scheduled to accommodate cleaning periods throughout the day.
• Capacity restrictions will be in place in all areas of the facilities. Fitness class scheduling will be phased in throughout the fall once facilities reopen.
• Some equipment may not be available to ensure physical distancing.
• Saunas, lockers and shared equipment will not be available.
• Participants are encouraged to attend the facility dressed in workout attire.
• Staff will monitor usage and make schedule adjustments as required.

More specific safety guidelines and protocols will be put in place for each centre. All participants are advised to follow all signage and protocols when frequenting the facility. Regular updates and information on safety protocols for the various facilities will be posted to

To help accommodate demand for summer and early fall ice use, the current schedule for reopening arenas is as follows:
• T.M. Davies Community Centre and Arena and Garson Community Centre will reopen September 7
• Raymond Plourde Arena will reopen September 14
• Chelmsford Arena will reopen September 21.

Residents are asked to visit and use the online ice reservation system to book ice time at either of these arenas or at Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex, which reopened August 11.

The City operates 16 ice pads in 14 arenas, and they are opened based on the number of youth registrants each season. Arena staff are currently collecting registration data, and youth associations will be allocated ice times based on participant numbers at the annual ice allocation meeting in mid-September. Adult user groups and others will also be surveyed to determine their ice time requirements.

A number of considerations will be used to prioritize the reopening of individual facilities, including geography, facility layout, stakeholder obligations, arena classification and minimum booking hours. Staff will report back to Council in October with an update and recommendations for the 2020-21 season.

Reminders: Safety Precautions
• In accordance with instructions by Public Health Sudbury & Districts, residents are required to wear a face covering or non-medical mask when visiting any indoor City facility or when using GOVA Transit. The City has a limited number of disposable masks available for visitors who forget to bring their own. For information on how we are making your GOVA Transit trip safe, visit
• The permitted size for a social gathering is 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors. Physical distancing rules remain in effect and residents must stay two metres away from people who are not part of their household or social circle or “bubble.” To report violations, call 311.
• City by-law officers and contracted security will continue to patrol the use of municipal spaces, and signage will be in place to remind users of rules.
• Where there are concerns that people are not practising physical distancing, or where the number of users creates a situation where it is not manageable, the City will further review and implement changes.

For COVID-19 updates and information related to City services, visit or find us on Facebook and Twitter.

For the most up-to-date local information on COVID-19, visit the Public Health Sudbury & Districts website at