Outdoor and recreational activities remain closed in Ontario. Here’s why experts say they should open safely

Despite calls for Ontario to ease restrictions on outdoor activities, the province maintained its ban on outdoor sports and recreational activities such as golf courses, basketball courts and baseball diamonds until ‘by June 2 at least.

“It’s still too high. We need to see them drop further before we can change the stay-at-home order, ”Health Minister Christine Elliott said Monday afternoon, highlighting the 2,716 new cases of COVID-19 reported during Sunday testing.

Toronto’s public health board unanimously passed a motion on Monday urging the Ontario government to reverse the order to close outdoor facilities.

The Canadian Pediatric Society published a letter Friday calling on the Ontario government to “immediately” reopen outdoor spaces for children. The letter noted “concerns” about the confinement of young people at home. “We cannot overestimate the extent of the mental health crisis our young people are facing. “

The organization specifically calls on Ontario to “immediately reopen outdoor recreation spaces, unless you have data showing that these sites are sources of virus transmission.”

As the weather warms this week and temperatures are expected to reach 15C, infectious disease experts are also echoing calls to open up these outdoor activities.

UHN infectious disease specialist Dr Shahid Husain told The Star he encourages recreation and outdoor sports as long as people follow or adhere to at least two of the three standard operating procedures that include removal. physical, wearing a mask and / or whether a person has received a vaccine.

“We know a lot more than we knew from the start during the pandemic. We know the drivetrain is significantly less outdoors, ”said Husain.

Husain also added that the outdoors is necessary for the well-being of people. “It’s very important for a person’s social being to get out of the house and enjoy the parks and all those other things,” said Husain. “You have to take into account the aspect of social well-being and the mental well-being of the individual.”

While people should be allowed to go out in this weather and participate in sports, it’s also important that they don’t go “crazy” and let their guard down, Husain said.

Those found to violate these restrictions may face fines of up to $ 750. Other closed outdoor activities include skate parks, tennis courts, and picnic areas.

As The Star revealed on Friday, Conservative MPs are discussing a lot the wisdom of upholding the ban on outdoor activities like golf and tennis.

“We look at things on a daily basis. We’re going to have to see our numbers go down, ”Elliott said. “We need to stay the course for now. “

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