Golf, tennis and other outdoor sports to open across Ontario as part of 3-step reopening plan
Golf, tennis, basketball and other outdoor sports are expected to reopen across the province on Saturday as part of a three-step plan to gradually allow more activities to resume indoor and outdoor by the end of summer.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced the details Thursday as Ontario continues to see signs that the devastating third wave of COVID-19 in the province is receding.
Under the new plan, restrictions will be gradually relaxed through June, July and August based on vaccination rates and key public health and healthcare indicators.
The current stay-at-home order will remain in place until June 2, with the exception of these newly announced changes for certain outdoor activities.
Ford said the changes are a result of the current restrictions.
“These measures have worked,” he said. “We are seeing increasingly positive trends in key public health indicators.”
The three phases of the province’s plan are:
- Phase 1: An initial focus on resuming outdoor activities with smaller crowds where the risk of transmission is lower. This includes allowing outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people, alfresco dining with up to four people per table, and non-essential retailing at 15% capacity.
- Phase 2: Further develop outdoor activities and resume limited indoor services with a small number of people. This includes outdoor gatherings for up to 25 people, outdoor sports and leagues, personal care services as well as religious services, rites or ceremonies indoors at 15% capacity. All indoor gatherings in this phase will require face coverings.
- Step 3: Expand access to indoor environments, with restrictions, including where there are large numbers of people and face coverings cannot always be worn. This includes indoor sports and recreational fitness, indoor restaurants, museums, art galleries, libraries, casinos, and bingo halls, with capacity limits.
You can read all the details of the reopening plan in the document at the bottom of this story.
Phase 1 will start the week of June 13
The province said it would stay at each stage of its plan for at least 21 days to assess any impact on key public health indicators. If at the end of the 21 days the following immunization thresholds have been met, as well as positive trends in other key public health and health system indicators, then the province will move on to the next step:
- Step 1: 60 percent of adults vaccinated with a single dose.
- 2nd step: 70 percent of adults vaccinated with one dose and 20 percent vaccinated with two doses.
- Step 3: 70 to 80 percent of adults vaccinated with one dose and 25 percent vaccinated with two doses.
Currently, the province reports that 58.5% of Ontarians aged 18 and over have received the first doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Health Minister Christine Elliott said Phase 1 of the reopening plan is expected to begin the week of June 13 if key metrics are met.
WATCH | Ford details its reopening plans:
Meanwhile, starting May 22, outdoor gatherings of up to five people will be allowed, and the following outdoor activities may reopen if they meet certain safety criteria:
- Parks and recreation areas
- Baseball diamonds
- Batting Cages
- Soccer, football and sports fields
- Tennis court
- Basketball court
- BMX Parks
- Skate parks
- Golf course
- Golf Frisbee
- Cycle paths and cycle paths
- Equestrian centers
- Shooting ranges
- Ice rinks
- Play ground
- Boat and boat launching
- Archery stands
- Lawn playgrounds
Team sports are still prohibited and people using these facilities must respect a distance of at least two meters, with the exception of members of the same household.
In Toronto, the city says it is working on opening golf courses, sports fields and fields, BMX and skate parks, picnic tables and shelters, fitness equipment. outdoor fitness and dry skates located in the outdoor artificial rinks by Saturday.
âToday’s announcement by the Ontario government recognizes the progress we have all made in stopping the spread of COVID-19 by tracking public health measures,â Mayor John Tory said in a statement.
“It is also a testament to the tremendous work being done to get as many people vaccinated as possible with the vaccine supply available.”
Learn in person how to stay closed for now
The plan comes as health officials say the province’s control over the pandemic is improving due to current health measures.
Officials from the Ontario Science Advisory Table presented their latest COVID-19 modeling data on Thursday, suggesting that sustaining immunization progress and maintaining some public health measures through mid-June may “help to ensure a good summer â.
“The public health measures, painful and frustrating as they are, have helped stop the spread,” Adalsteinn Brown, co-chair of the science table, said at Thursday’s press conference.
“If we are careful and careful, we can keep that momentum going.”
The group said reopening schools on June 2 could lead to a 6-11% increase in cases, but added that “could be manageable.”
But Ford said given the risk of reopening the schools, they will continue to operate in teacher-led distance learning for now.
âWe cannot afford an 11% increase at the moment,â Ford said at the press conference.
While Ford says Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr David Williams is in favor of reopening schools, there are teachers and other health officials who “have differing views.”
âWe have to get consensus from all the doctors,â Ford said.
The province says the data will be evaluated on an ongoing basis and that medical experts and other health officials will be consulted to determine if it can be safe to resume in-person learning.
Dr. Peter JÃ¼ni, scientific director of the Ontario Scientific Advisory Table on COVID-19, said this morning he supported a sector-by-sector reopening to prevent “region hopping”.
In an interview with CBC Radio Metro morning, JÃ¼ni said he believes restrictions on most outdoor activities, except patio dining, should be lifted by June 2.
“We are in a much better place than a few weeks ago,” he said, noting that cases and hospitalizations were decreasing.
JÃ¼ni added that he was in favor of reopening schools after the end of the stay-at-home order.
âA lot of children are in difficulty, a lot of families are in difficulty,â he said. If the province can immunize as many education workers and parents of school-aged children as possible by then, it could be safe to open schools, he continued.
Meanwhile, in a letter to the Premier’s Office, the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) said any new approach “should be evidence-based and clear action-driven and driven by the continued need for s ‘ensure that all continuous transmission is limited’.
OHA Board Chair Sarah Downey and President Anthony Dale have warned that current public health measures are fighting the third wave, “but we’re not out of the woods yet.”
“The intensive care occupancy rate remains high and the worrisome variants pose a significant risk,” the letter said. “Maintaining high testing rates and early identification of contacts to prevent outbreaks will remain crucial.”