St. Catharines City Council would like to see outdoor recreational activities that can be done with the provincial-approved physical distancing.
City councils this week approved a motion by the city of Brantford calling on the Ontario government to lift its ban on golf and other recreational activities that can be enjoyed while maintaining reasonable social distancing.
It also endorsed the Ontario Tennis Association’s Safe Return to Tennis Blueprint to facilitate the reopening of the tennis facilities.
“I can speak for myself and some others who are very frustrated that the provincial government doesn’t allow outdoor activities. We all know the psychological benefits of them, ”said Merritton Coun. Lori Littleton, who made the motion for approval.
“Tennis is by nature a socially distant sport where you’re not around another player unless you’re playing doubles – and then you don’t want to get too close anyway because you’re being hit with a racket.”
The province issued a stay at home order on April 8 and tightened it by closing outdoor recreational facilities on April 17 as the number of COVID-19 cases rose. These included golf courses, basketball courts, soccer fields and playgrounds – although the playground ban was quickly lifted after public outcry.
The stay at home order stays in place until May 20, but reports say the government is expected to extend it until June.
The city of St. Catharines had begun preparing their fields and had a tentative opening date for the Garden City Golf Course on April 19 after last year’s season started late due to pandemic measures.
On Tuesday, the COVID-19 Science Advisory Table told the province that outdoor activities such as golf, tennis, and beach volleyball are low risk and the province should allow people to participate again if they comply with safety rules.
The Ontario Tennis Association’s Council-approved Safe Return to Tennis Blueprint contains a plan for how singles, doubles, team, and camps would adhere to physical distancing protocols if they could reopen.
Phil Cristi, director of recreational and cultural services in the community, said city officials had asked individual sports organizations to return to play logs that are usually drawn up by their provincial sports associations.
“If the restrictions on the use of our facilities and amenities are lifted, we would welcome them back with open arms, provided they have these secure return-to-play protocols in place and follow them and all members of your organization keep doing so you to her, ”he said.
According to Cristi, the employees have the plans of most of the sports organizations that they deal with on a daily basis. While the tennis organization sought approval of their blueprint from the council, the city councils agreed that any other can simply be submitted to the parks department without approval from the city council.
– With files from Canadian Press