In rather sudden turn of events, the Provincial government decided to allow outdoor sports to re-open as of May 22 as part of a three-step plan aimed at gradually allowing for more indoor and outdoor activities by the end of summer.
The announcement was a total about-face from an announcement just a week earlier that said outdoor sports would not be allowed until at least June 3.
At the time, Ontario Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said the restriction was in place to avoid having people cross health districts to play sports like golf.
“We don’t have a golf course at the end ofevery street, so we have to make sure that people continue to understand that that the stay-at-home order is in to avoid unnecessary movement,” Ms. Jones said on May 11.
Premier Ford said, that as a golfer himself, he is well aware of the social aspect of the sport and that people routinely meet after a round for a few drinks. This socialization, he said, is what the government is trying to avoid.
The Ford government faced significant public pressure.
The golf industry lobbied hard to get permission to open courses. It was costing a lot of money to maintain the greens while there was no one paying to play.
Ontario Golf issued a statement saying: “As you know, Golf Ontario and Ontario’s We Are Golf partners, along with everyone in the industry, have been working very hard to reopen golf courses. A ton of work has been done by everyone, and our clear and consistent messaging, along with significant pressure in social media has helped ensure our message was clear that golf needed to be open.”
Under this three-step plan, restrictions on public gatherings will be eased gradually through June, July, and August based on vaccination rates and key public health in-dicators.
The current stay-at-home order will remain in place until June 2, with the exception of these newly announced rules.
The new rules will make a lot of people happy now that we are going into summer and people want to be outdoors and enjoy the sports and activities they love.
The list of outdoor venues that can now open with select safety criteria is long, but includes parks and recreation cen-tres, baseball diamonds, basketball courts, batting cages, soccer and sports fi elds, tennis courts, BMX and skateboard parks, horse riding facilities, and playgrounds.
Those who love to be on the water will be happy to know boat launches and marinas can now operate.
Brian Lockhart, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, New Tecumseth Times