You’re less likely to catch coronavirus outdoors — so why are parks closed?

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Experts are urging local governments to lift many restrictions on park use, as more and more evidence suggests that people rarely catch the novel coronavirus while outdoors.

“If we look at where the really awful things have happened: on ships, in nursing homes and in meatpacking plants, it’s all about enclosed spaces,” said Dr. Stan Houston, an infectious disease specialist and professor of medicine at the University of Alberta.

“I am not aware of any outbreaks that have occurred that have been centred in parks, or cross-country ski trails or outdoor environments of any kind.”

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Several cities across Canada have shut down playground structures and park facilities like tennis courts and benches, or have imposed “walk-through” measures, in which residents can pass through a park but can’t linger on the grass.

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Breaking these measures can bring legal consequences: a man in Ottawa received an $800 fine for standing in the wrong place while walking his dog, for example. An Oakville man was fined $880 for rollerblading with his sons in an empty park.

These measures were designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19,

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