Area's top doctor surprised Calypso water park will not be allowed to reopen
The water park expected to reopen on Friday as part of the province's Stage 3 plan
The area's top doctor said he's surprised a water park in Limoges, Ont., was not granted permission to reopen as part of the province's Stage 3 plan.
On Monday, Premier Doug Ford revealed much of the province would be moving to Stage 3 on July 17, with the exception of the Greater Toronto Area and other parts of southern Ontario.
The plan would allow for things such as indoor dining in restaurants as well as the reopening of movie theatres and playgrounds under strict health and safety measures. Amusement parks and water parks were not on the list.
Calypso Waterpark's website says they would "be part of the 3rd wave of Eastern Ontario's reopening phase." The park declined to give CBC an interview but said they are working with local health officials on their reopening plan.
"Calypso park had given to us — the health unit and myself personally — a very comprehensive plan of reopening and I have approved it," said Paul Roumeliotis, medical officer of health and chief executive officer for the Eastern Ontario Health Unit.
"We were quite surprised that water parks were not included in Stage 3."
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Roumeliotis said his staff also visited the site, located about 35 kilometres east of Ottawa, to ensure it was safe to reopen.
The water park submitted the plan online to the government while Roumeliotis forwarded a copy to Ontario's chief medical officer of health, he said.
"We had sent a letter to [MPP] Lisa MacLeod as well so we can get this plan accepted," Roumeliotis said. MacLeod, who represents Nepean, is Ontario's Tourism minister.
"I do believe that all the measures are in place and I'm hoping that we can get a resolution as quickly as possible."
Roumeliotis said with the increasingly hot weather, it's even more important for the park's reopening plan to get approved.
'We cannot live in a bubble'
François St. Amour, the mayor of Nation municipality where Calypso is located, said he was aware of park's reopening plan for weeks and is surprised by the province's decision to keep it closed.
"I know the health unit has verified the plans and visited the place and they're comfortable with it. So, I'm disappointed with the government."
St. Amour said the summer is critical for the water park and they've already missed a large portion of the season because of COVID-19.
With the local health authority's approval, now is the time for the park to open to the public, he said.
"I'm not suggesting anybody break the rules, but we gotta get this province back on track," said St. Amour.
"We cannot live in a bubble for the rest of our lives. We've got to get on with it."
MacLeod said she's pleased Calypso has submitted a detailed reopening plan to the province and that it's working with local health officials.
"We're going to continue to go through the appropriate process with the chief medical officer of health of Ontario to secure the appropriate permissions," she said.
MacLeod said the tourism industry in Ontario has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and it's important for people to support local businesses as they begin to reopen.
"These folks are suffering and will need the support of our local communities. That said, we have to take every precaution in order to take care of Ontarians and make sure that they're safe."