Ontario is still looking into resuming outdoor activities but people are wondering when
The majority of outdoor activities and sports have been prohibited in Ontario since the province introduced new restrictions in April in an effort to quash the out-of-control third wave.
But officials recently said the policy was being reassessed following a tidal wave of criticism from experts who say restricting mostly-safe outdoor amenities only pushes people indoors.
Risk of outdoor #COVID19 transmission is tiny.— Isaac Bogoch (@BogochIsaac) April 17, 2021
If you can't separate by 2 meters, put on a mask.
The comments came from Solicitor General Sylvia Jones last week and offered a glimmer of hope to the thousands of residents who've been relying on outdoor activities to help them get through months-long lockdown measures that have undoubtedly been taking a toll on people's mental health.
During this pandemic, outside together is simply better, safer and healthier than inside. If you’re able to, please enjoy the great outdoors.— Josh Matlow (@JoshMatlow) May 1, 2021
But alas, the province has yet to make any kind of official announcement on the subject, and Health Minister Christine Elliot said Tuesday that COVID-19 indicators still need to improve but that the government will be looking into the issue.
When asked by a reporter why outdoor activities remain closed despite ample evidence that being outdoors presents a much lower risk of transmission, she said Ontario still needs to limit mobility and see case rates decline.
"We are going to be assessing this," she added.
The conversation about whether outdoor activities should be permitted amid Ontario's third wave has been ongoing since the rules were first introduced, but a widely-circulated photo of a Toronto police officer asking Volleyball Canada national team member Sophie Bukovec to stop training at Woodbine Beach this past weekend caused the debate to heat up even more.
A #Toronto Police Officer asks Volleyball Canada national team member @bukovec_sophie to stop training on the beach while Lakeshore Blvd 50 meters away is open for #ActiveTO . Facilities for high performance athletes are closed by the @fordnation #stayathomeorder for #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/0nDhzTpjna— Frank Gunn (@frankgunnphoto) May 1, 2021
The photo, posted on Twitter by Canadian Press photojournalist Frank Gunn, prompted plenty of responses from members of the public and and public officials alike, including councillor Josh Matlow who called the situation "bonkers."
Two separate petitions calling on the government to reverse the policy have also gained plenty of attention in recent weeks, with one garnering more than 43,000 signatures to date and another accumulating more than 36,000.
"Scientists and Medical Doctors overwhelmingly support the evidence that safely executed outdoor activity does not contribute to the transmission of Covid cases and that it helps to improve mental health," reads the description of the latter.
"Ontario's closure of outdoor recreational activities (including golf, tennis, rowing, skateboarding, camping, having a picnic and pickleball) to control #COVID19 does not make sense," it continues.
"Targeting the real problem areas rather than penalizing the masses is the answer. We want our safely monitored outdoor activities returned — immediately."
Join the conversation Load comments