Ontario golf course could face fines of up to $10 million for opening during lockdown
The Southern Ontario golf course that opened in direct defiance of the province's lockdown restrictions last weekend and received plenty of business as a result has been charged by provincial police.
The Bridges at Tillsonburg opened its online booking system for golfers to reserve tee-times earlier this month despite new provincial restrictions that explicitly prohibit a number of outdoor activities, including golf.
I just spoke to a staffer at The Bridges at Tillsonburg, the course that is defying the Ontario order to close. Golfers are out on the course, and aside from a news truck out front, there is nothing unusual happening. Tee sheet is sold out today and tomorrow.— Bob Weeks (@BobWeeksTSN) April 24, 2021
Following an investigation into the matter, the provincial police force announced Thursday that it has charged the business with failing to comply with the closure order.
The corporation was charged under the Reopening Ontario Act and, if convicted, could face a fine of up to $10 million.
"The OPP is requesting that businesses and members of the public voluntarily comply with the government-mandated shutdown and the Stay At Home Order," reads a news release from the OPP.
The course, which is located 50 km southeast of London, Ontario, saw plenty of demand during its week in operation, which isn't surprising considering the amount of pressure the government is facing to reopen golf courses and other outdoor amenities since the risk of transmission remains lower outside.
The Bridges at Tillsonburg are into a 4th day of sold out tee times for golf. In fact, they're sold out and booked fully all the way through Sunday afternoon.— Greg Brady (@gregbradyTO) April 27, 2021
I’m amazed a second golf course hasn’t followed suit.
And while the Tillsonburg golf course says it didn't reopen to send a political message but rather to simply let people golf, both Golf Ontario and Tillsonburg Mayor Stephen Molnar expressed public disappointment about the business' choice to blatantly break the rules.
@TheGolfOntario The Bridges at Tillsonburg Golf Course is open and fully booked today for golf in defiance of current regulations. While I agree that golf courses should likely be open (I am a golfer), this is not the way to go about effecting the required change.— bob_balint (@bob_balint) April 24, 2021
Ontario Solicitor General Sylvia Jones meanwhile said this morning that conversations are currently underway about which outdoor activities can potentially resume safely while the stay-at-home order remains in effect.
The Bridges at Tillsonburg is scheduled to appear in court on June 3.
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