Tennis courts

Toronto to unlock tennis courts and open golf courses for the long weekend

City of Toronto staff will remove padlocks from tennis courts, open golf courses and remove closure signs from recreation facilities in time for the long weekend.

Mayor John Tory, in a statement, thanked Premier Doug Ford on Thursday for lifting the controversial closure of outdoor amenities, effective Saturday, as part of a new framework to slowly ease COVID-related restrictions. -19.

Tory, other mayors, public health experts and Ford’s own science advisers have long urged the Prime Minister to reconsider the ban announced April 16 on outdoor activities including tennis, golf, skateboard parks and lawn bowls.

“City staff are now working to open these amenities for this weekend,” Tory said, calling for the June 2 end of a provincial stay-at-home order, and plans to end other restrictions. when certain vaccination goals are met, a testimonial for Torontonians. .

“The fight against COVID-19 continues alongside our vaccination efforts, but today we have the kind of clear roadmap we’ve been looking for, so we can continue to reopen safely and cautiously,” Tory said.

A city press release states, “Work is underway to remove locks and signs from closed and locked facilities such as tennis courts before Saturday.

“Other amenities such as sports fields, athletic fields and fitness stations will be reopened with the removal of signs.”

From Saturday, the facilities will reopen with the obligation for people who do not belong to the same household to stay at least two meters apart.

“These amenities include, but are not limited to, golf courses and practice grounds, soccer and other sports grounds, tennis and basketball courts, and skate parks,” the city says. . “The golf courses will be open for use from Saturday May 22.”

Also open: disc golf course, sports fields including baseball fields, BMX and skate parks, picnic tables and shelters, dry pads at outdoor artificial ice rinks.

According to provincial rules, no team sports will be allowed. Outdoor gatherings will be permitted with a maximum of five people per group. Despite the warm weather forecast for the weekend, swimming pools and wading pools will remain closed.

Toronto health activist and palliative care physician Dr Naheed Dosani said: ‘The news that people can gather outdoors for these sports and in groups of up to five is great news for people who need a way to support their physical health. and mental health because it has been a tough and long pandemic.

But other parts of the reopening plan appear “arbitrary”, he added.

“The biggest mistake we can make now is not following the science and ending up in a place where people are getting sick because we were too loose with our criteria and we opened up too much, too soon,” he said. said Dosani.

In a statement, Toronto Public Health welcomed Ford’s reopening plan.

“It is important that a reopening strategy applied to our local situation is based on the current scientific evidence of increased vaccination rates and a significant decrease in the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations,” says a statement from TPH.

“We look forward to working with our provincial partners to review the plans in more detail in the coming weeks to determine our local reopening approach.”

Ford appears to have heeded calls from Tory and other GTA-Hamilton regions to loosen rules across the region, to avoid the confusing patchwork of restrictions of the past that saw people hopping across the border to do shopping and dining out.

Torontonians looking to exercise outdoors this weekend will, in addition to newly open recreational facilities, have some roads closed to motorized traffic as part of the city’s ActiveTO program which gives pedestrians and cyclists a space to move around in complete safety.

Closed from Saturday 6:00 a.m. to Sunday 9:00 p.m. are:

  • Eastbound lanes of Lake Shore Boulevard East between Leslie Street and Woodbine Avenue.
  • Eastbound lanes of Lake Shore Boulevard West between Windermere Avenue and Stadium Road.

Asked why the lanes are not closed to vehicles on holiday Monday, city spokesman Eric Holmes cited “comments from local communities and residents who have indicated that it is best to maintain two-day closures due to local neighborhood congestion that may be felt by the closures, as well as other community impacts.

High Park will be closed to vehicles from Friday around 11 p.m. until Tuesday around 7 a.m.

David Rider is Star’s City Hall Bureau Chief and a reporter covering City Hall and municipal politics. Follow him on Twitter: @dmrider

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