Safe Return to Play

The City of Hamilton welcomes the community back to our City-run recreation programs and recreation facilities. We understand that returning to recreation activities may be a difficult decision for some.

As part of a coordinated strategy to gradually, slowly and safely reopen municipal facilities and restart City services and programs, the City of Hamilton has developed detailed health and safety guidelines for various work environments, including Recreation Centres and Arenas.

COVID cleaning, spray bottle


  • Employees trained on proper use of cleaning and disinfectant products
  • Enhanced cleaning and disinfecting of facilities and program spaces
  • Ensure high- touch areas like doors, door handles, and shared equipment are cleaned regularly

Physical Distancing

  • Facility staff and program instructors maintaining at least 2m or 6ft of physical distance
  • Fitness participants maintaining at least 3m of physical distance
  • Use of signage to direct traffic flow
  • Barriers in place at counters where the public has access
  • Reduced capacities in all program spaces to ensure physical distancing
  • Reservation system implemented for all drop in programs
  • Time spacing between programs, rentals and services to allow for groups to enter/exit separately
  • Modified games, activities, or play to maintain 2m or 6ft of physical distance between participants not in the same social circle

Stop the Spread

  • Limited 90-minute duration of stay
  • Encourage employees and visitors to practice good hand hygiene
  • Provide soap at all sinks and/or alcohol-based hand sanitizer where soap is not available
  • Participants are encouraged to bring their own equipment
  • Stay at home if you are sick


Health Screening

  • Contract tracing for everyone entering facilities
  • Posted signage for participant health screening
  • Health screening for everyone entering facilities
  • Enhanced health screening for all participants entering program spaces


  • A mask or face covering will be required in enclosed public spaces
  • Masks are required during group fitness classes, and must be worn in changerooms or other common areas (not required while in the pool)


  • Signage to communicate expectations to participate in programs and use facilities/amenities

Frequently Asked Questions

To further assist families with decision making we have provided the following answers to some frequently asked questions:

Do I need to self-assess before visiting a recreation facility or program?

Yes, it is important that all visitors and program participants complete the passive self-assessment screening (PDF) before entering Recreation facilities. Customer Service staff and Instructors will be confirming verbally that this has been completed before admission.

Facility Related

Use our Program Finder to find both registered and drop in programs. 

  • Select “Courses and Lessons” in the left-hand tool bar for registered programs
  • Select “Drop In Programs” for all other offerings

Registered and Drop in programs will be affected while moving through the enhanced public health measure framework refer to for updated information.

Yes. Wearing a mask or face covering is required in enclosed public spaces under City of Hamilton By-Law 20-155. The mask or face covering should cover your nose, mouth and chin, without gapping. Wearing a mask or face covering is an additional measure we can take to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and keep each other safe.

All visitors to enclosed recreation facilities must wear a mask or face covering in all common areas including pool decks, changerooms and hallways unless exempted under the by-law. Masks are now required for fitness/training group classes. This includes all City of Hamilton registered, drop in fitness programming and group fitness (cardio, yoga, tai chi).

Although masks are not required while actively participating in dance and sports programs, Hamilton Public Health Services strongly suggest the wearing of masks while participating in any physical activity.  

What is an acceptable mask or face covering?
“Face covering” refers to a medical or non-medical mask, or other covering such as a balaclava, bandana, scarf, cloth or similar item that covers the nose, mouth and chin without gapping. Face shields that have an exposed chin area are not an acceptable form of face covering.

As per the Province of Ontario, those above age 65 years of age, those with compromised immune systems and/or underlying medical conditions should self-isolate. This means only leaving home or seeing other people for essential reasons. Older adults and those with weakened immune systems (immunocompromised) are at higher risk of becoming ill.

We recognize, that for many seniors or individuals, accessing their recreation facility or participating in physical activity is essential to their health and well-being. We ask that all participants follow all expectations posted and staff direction to ensure a safe environment for all. If you require an accommodation to access a recreation facility, need information on seniors or adapted programming, or would like information on less busy facilities/pools, please contact our customer service team.  

Spectators and non-participants are not permitted within the program space or pool deck (parents required for participation or support workers assisting participants are considered participants and are allowed in the program space). Limited alternative viewing areas may be available at some locations and may be used if 2m or 6ft of physical distance can be maintained. Please do not gather around doorways to view programs.

Note: Spectators, (with the exception of 1 care-giver for children under the age of 18) will not be permitted in facilities when the municipality is in the “Control” - Red category within the Provincial COVID-19 Response Framework or higher.

Changerooms and showers will be open, however lockers or amenities available may be reduced. Please only bring what you need for your swim and arrive promptly at your program time to avoid changeroom congestion.

Some sites will use alternate waiting areas for classes/programs waiting to start. Please follow all signage or directions as posted at your facility.

Yes. All programs you wish to participate require individuals to register or make an online reservation using the Program Finder.

The City’s inclusive support program and adapted programs are offered with limited options and enhanced health and safety measures in place. These programs will be cancelled while the municipality is in the “Control” - Red category.

Families are always welcome to provide their own support staff who can provide hands-on or close assistance within 2m or 6ft) of the participant. If you need assistance accessing a program or would like to discuss program/facilities please contact the inclusion team at [email protected]

Registered Programs

No.  While the municipality is in the “Control” - Red category or higher all registered programs will be cancelled.  Credits will be issued for registered programs and refunds will be issued by request. Please email at [email protected] to request your refund.

City facilities and programs are being reopened in a gradual, slow and safe manner, as per COVID-19 Opening Framework.

As part of this phased approach, some programs may not be offered either because of Provincial regulations/guidelines or further planning/protocols were required for safe implementation. Use the Program Finder to find both registerd and drop in programs currently being offered.

As part of our phased approach, the following programs will be modified during Fall 2020 to require direct parent participation in program either because of Provincial regulations/guidelines or further planning/protocols were required for safe implementation.

Programs for 3-5 years and Swimmer 1/2 will require a caregiver to physically participate in the program with each participant (i.e. Swimmer 1 in the water)

  • Splash Program (all levels) *must be in water
  • Swimmer 1 *must be in water
  • Swimmer 2 *must be in water
  • Exploring Art
  • Exploring Movement
  • Exploring Science
  • Sports Blast (3-5 yrs)

Are class sizes smaller?

Recreation programs always strive to maintain low staff to participant ratios to ensure quality instruction. However, all program spaces have been measured for reduced capacities to ensure distance can be maintained, and where required, class sizes may be further reduced.

The following additional measures were applied to group fitness programs as of October 19, 2020:

  • Must maintain 3m of physical distance from others
  • Masks always required 
  • Maximum 9 people per class

We are anticipating a slow return of users to our facilities and programs. Additionally, Recreation staff will be following requirements for reduced capacities and enhanced disinfecting between programs/users. As a result, operating hours and number of programs offered at a facility may be reduced.

Recreation staff will be closely monitoring registration and waitlist demands and may be able to add additional programming where demonstrated need exists.

Please refer to our current refund policy to determine if you are eligible for a refund for your registered program offering.

Registration for programs with available spots will be ongoing after the scheduled registration date. Winter 2020 registration dates will be determined and communicated in November. To receive email communication and updates from the Recreation Division update your communication preferences by logging in to your account and updating your profile in the Program Finder.

Drop In Programs

Yes. In accordance with Reopening Ontario Act, 2020 reservations are required for all visitors accessing Recreation facilities.  Individuals may reserve space in drop in programs, for all members within their family group 25hrs in advance using the Program Finder. How to find and book your drop in tickets is available in PDF and Video format. If you have difficulty accessing the online Program Finder call 905-546-3747 for assistance by phone

Some of our drop in programs have very limited space available or have experienced high demand in the past. In order to prevent line ups at the facility and to avoid disappointment upon arrival a reservation using the Program Finder is required.

Due to the limited availability of these programs viewing and reservation will only be made available 24 hours in advance.

Where a drop in program tile indicates “0 out of 0 capacity remaining”, the course is not available for online booking or reservation, there is “0” capacity in the online environment.  These programs are only available through in person admission during the scheduled time.

Participants are encouraged to bring their own equipment to programs when required (including racquets, Personal Flotation Devices, float belts, balls). Limited equipment may be available at the facility and will be disinfected between users.

As of October 19, Hamilton Public Health Services is requiring all recreation fitness facilities put additional measures in place.  These measures apply to group classes conducting fitness activities, and include:

  • Must maintain 3m of physical distance from others
  • Masks always required 
  • Maximum 9 people per class

Masks are now required for fitness/training group classes. This includes all City of Hamilton fitness registered and drop in programming, group fitness (cardio, yoga, tai chi) and water fitness (water fit, aqua finning, aqua cycling). Water fitness programs will be adjusted to avoid bobbing/dunking of the head so individuals can wear masks while participating in these activities.

More information on these measures is outlined in the letter “Responsibilities of recreational fitness facilities to reduce the spread of COVID-19” and summarized under “Recreational Fitness Facilities” here:


I have a question that hasn’t been answered who can I speak with?

Please contact our customer service staff directly.
Phone:  905-546-3747
Email:  [email protected]

We look forward to seeing you at the centres!