ontario lockdown

Ontario apparently has no plans to open outdoor amenities anytime soon

Though there has been some hope that people in Ontario might be able get outside to enjoy outdoor sports before the stay-at-home order is up, it appears that the provincial government is sticking to its guns as far as the forced closure of recreational amenities such as soccer fields, tennis courts and skate parks.

Sports groups have been writing to Premier Doug Ford and his team to beg for the ability to indoor physical exercise outdoors in the form of socially-distanced pastimes that are currently off-limits under the emergency shutdown, which is set to last until May 20 at least, but likely longer.

Petitions with tens of thousands of signatures have also emerged from frustrated citizens who think the closure of such facilities is only "driving people to congregate indoors," and point out that outdoor transmission of the virus is extremely rare and that outdoor activities will help improve overall mental and physical health in lockdown.

"People's mental and physical health are at high risk after a year long combat with the pandemic," one of such appeals reads. "Open outdoor tennis courts!  This is one of the safest places people can exercise."

Others are asking for the reopening of campsites, golf courses, and park spaces to things other than just walking through, arguing that "we want our safely monitored outdoor activities returned - immediately."

But despite these pleas and the fact that Solicitor General Sylvia Jones last week hinted that some outdoor activities may be able to resume even under the stay-at-home order and shutdown, sports organizations have been told that won't be happening, Postmedia reports.

Leaders of such organizations told the Sun that based on their correspondences with the province, "nothing will dissuade"the current leadership from keeping restrictions the same for everyone across the board. 

Health Minister Christine Elliott, to that point, stated on Wednesday that such activities "are not something that we can encourage based on the medical advice that we've received from the experts" right now.

Despite the current rules, the province is living in a very dystopian mixed reality where people are still out playing beach volleyball, playing tennis in the streets and using workout equipment in parks while basketball nets are padlocked, disc golf baskets are covered over and people are being fined for violating emergency orders.

Some experts have been calling for outdoor amenities to be opened up immediately, while others — such as Peel Medical Officer of Health Lawrence Loh — have recommended they remain shuttered.

Members of the province's own COVID-19 Science Advisory Table have come out to say that they did not recommend Ford implement a ban on such activites in the first place.

Lead photo by

wsquared photography

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