Considered one of Toronto’s deputy mayors is asking Premier Doug Ford to rethink his choice to order the closure of golf programs and tennis courts, arguing that “not all sports activities have the identical dangers” in relation to the unfold of COVID-19.
In an open letter despatched to Ford over the weekend, Etobicoke councillor Stephen Holyday mentioned that each golf and tennis “enable for unbiased play or secure spatial separation outside” and might be permitted “whereas sustaining controls in place the place they’re wanted.”
Within the letter, Holyday says that whereas he’s typically supportive of “the current closure of recreation areas as a method to restrict mobility,” he believes there’s a option to “regularly open up sure out of doors recreation actions,” beginning with golf programs and tennis courts.
“Etobicoke residents have entry to 10 golf programs, 4 of that are in Ward 2, and three extra share our border. These programs serve 1000’s of residents, and I’ve heard from many just lately who’re trying ahead to enjoying as soon as once more,” he mentioned. “Offering secure alternatives to interact in sport and recreation offers crucial alternatives to assist with our bodily and psychological well being. Secure recreation choices assist guarantee residents make the suitable decisions, and leads us on a path to a well-known life as soon as once more.”
Ford ordered the closure of all recreation facilities again on April 16 as case counts surged and hospitalizations reached file ranges.
Since then the Ontario Scientific Advisory Desk has revealed a quick encouraging the Ford authorities to pursue insurance policies that discourage individuals from gathering indoors whereas permitting them to “spend time with one another outside, the place the danger of transmissions is extraordinarily low.” The panel of scientific specialists has additionally warned that “insurance policies that discourage secure out of doors exercise is not going to management COVID-19 and can disproportionately hurt youngsters and those that would not have entry to their very own greenspace.”
Whereas Ford reversed the choice to shut playgrounds, the premier has stood by the closure of different leisure facilities beneath the logic that it’s essential to restrict mobility.
Chief Coroner Dr. Dirk Huyer, who’s main the province’s outbreak response, instructed reporters final week that the difficulty with golf and tennis isn’t essentially the sport itself however the probability that folks may come into shut contact with one other instantly earlier than or after, particularly if they’re travelling collectively.
“I believe it is actually enthusiastic about the broad image the place mobility once more turns into one of many key elementary components to consider in guaranteeing that we scale back our mobility, scale back our motion, and due to this fact, restrict our intersections with others,” he mentioned.
A variety of GTA mayors have beforehand referred to as on the Ford authorities to rethink its choice to shut leisure facilities, together with Mississauga’s Bonnie Crombie.
Final week, Crombie instructed reporters that out of doors recreation “is crucial to the general well being and wellbeing” of kids and adults alike and have to be protected, given the comparatively low danger of contracting COVID-19 outside.
Mayor John Tory additionally expressed an openness to reconsidering restrictions round leisure facilities throughout a unrelated press convention on Tuesday.
Tory, nevertheless, mentioned that call will in the end relaxation with the province.
“If it’s the case that the scientists and the medical individuals, together with our personal, advise us that golf and tennis could be performed safely throughout the context of the present well being circumstances then I’m very open to a reconsideration by the province,” he mentioned. “However it’s a dialogue they need to have with themselves in addition to us.”