‘Not all sports have the same risks:’ Toronto Deputy Mayor asks Doug Ford to reopen golf and tennis


TORONTO – One of Toronto’s deputy mayors calls on Premier Doug Ford to reconsider his decision to order the closure of golf courses and tennis courts, arguing that “not all sports present the same risks”. which concerns the spread of COVID-19.

In an open letter sent to Ford over the weekend, Etobicoke councilor Stephen Holyday said golf and tennis “allow independent play or safe spatial separation outside” and could be allowed. “while keeping controls in place where they are needed.”

In the letter, Holyday says that while he is generally in favor of “the recent closure of recreational spaces as a means of limiting mobility,” he believes there is a way “to gradually open up certain open-ended leisure activities. air ”, starting with the golf courses and tennis courts.

“Residents of Etobicoke have access to ten golf courses, four of which are in Ward 2 and three more share our border. These classes cater to thousands of residents, and I’ve heard a lot lately who can’t wait to play again, ”he said. “Providing safe opportunities for sport and recreation provides essential opportunities for improving our physical and mental health. Safe recreation options help citizens make the right choices and get us back on the path to family life.

Ford ordered all recreation facilities closed on April 16 as the number of cases increased and hospitalizations reached record levels.

Since then, the Ontario Science Advisory Table has released a brief urging the Ford government to implement policies that discourage people from gathering indoors while allowing them to “spend time together outdoors there. where the risk of transmission is extremely low ”. The scientific panel also warned that “policies that discourage safe outdoor activities will not control COVID-19 and will disproportionately harm children and those who do not have access to their own green space” .

While Ford overturned the decision to close the playgrounds, the Prime Minister has supported the closure of other recreational facilities on the rationale that it is necessary to limit mobility.

Chief Coroner Dr Dirk Huyer, who is leading the province’s outbreak response, told reporters last week that the golf and tennis problem is not necessarily the game itself, but the possibility that people may come into close contact with one another immediately before or after, especially if they are traveling together.

“I think it’s really about thinking about the big picture where mobility once again becomes one of the key fundamental factors to take into account to ensure that we reduce our mobility, reduce our movement and, therefore, limit our intersections with others, ”he said.

A number of mayors in the Greater Toronto Area have already called on the Ford government to reconsider its decision to close recreation facilities, including Bonnie Crombie of Mississauga.

Last week, Crombie told reporters that outdoor recreation “is essential to the overall health and well-being” of children and adults and must be protected, given the comparatively low risk of contracting COVID- 19 outside.

Mayor John Tory also expressed willingness to reconsider restrictions on recreational facilities at an independent press conference on Tuesday.

However, the Conservatives have said the decision will ultimately rest with the province.

“If scientists and physicians, including our own, advise us that golf and tennis can be played safely under current health conditions, then I am very open to reconsideration by the province,” he said. -he mentioned. “But it’s a discussion they need to have with themselves and with us.”

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