Tillsonburg golf course charged as debate rages about out of doors recreation ban

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Breadcrumb Trail Links

The prospect of a $ 10 million fine was insufficient to deter owners of a Tillsonburg golf course that opened for opening despite provincial lockdown restrictions.

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Kathleen Saylors, Jonathan Juha • • Woodstock Sentinel Review The Oxford OPP officers were at The Bridges golf course in Tillsonburg on Friday, taking notes and taking photos of golfers. The golf course was indicted Thursday night under the Reopening Ontario Act of violating the provincial lockdown ordinances. (KATHLEEN SAYLORS / Postmedia Network)

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The prospect of a $ 10 million fine was insufficient to deter owners of a Tillsonburg golf course that opened for opening despite provincial lockdown restrictions.

Golfers could be seen on the greens of the bridges in Tillsonburg on Friday afternoon as the provincial police watched. Officers took notes while taking photos of golfers – several carts and golfers in groups of three and four were seen on parts of the course – but did not appear to be distributing tickets immediately.

Police cruisers and officers were near the course and a street sign warning of a $ 750 fine for disobeying lockdown orders had been placed.

Despite the course’s continued defiance of Ontario’s lockdown orders, police remained tense and refused to answer questions about the officers’ activity on the course and ongoing enforcement.

“It would be inappropriate for the OPP to speculate or discuss operational details during an ongoing investigation,” said Derek Rogers, media relations coordinator for the OPP West Region, on Friday morning.

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“The OPP expects businesses and members of the public to voluntarily comply with the government shutdown (through) the Stay At Home Order.”

The Oxford OPP officers were at the Bridges in Tillsonburg golf course on Friday, taking notes and taking photos of golfers.  The golf course was indicted Thursday night under the Reopening Ontario Act of violating the provincial lockdown ordinances.  (KATHLEEN SAYLORS / Postmedia Network) The Oxford OPP officers were at the Bridges in Tillsonburg golf course on Friday, taking notes and taking photos of golfers. The golf course was indicted Thursday night under the Reopening Ontario Act of violating the provincial lockdown ordinances. (KATHLEEN SAYLORS / Postmedia Network)

Police announced Thursday night that the course was charged under the Reopening Ontario Act. While the amount is set in court, the course faces a maximum fine of $ 10 million if convicted.

People violating Ontario’s lockdown orders could face fines of $ 750. However, the police have refused to comment on whether anyone has been charged.

The owners declined to comment on the charges, but thanked the community for their support in a social media post last weekend.

“It was wonderful to see our community and those who support our community come together and safely play the sport we all love so much,” said the club’s Facebook page.

The fees come almost a week after the south Tillsonburg facility allowed golfers to crack the links. The tee times were fully booked for the entire weekend from April 24th to 25th. Golf carts were also seen on the property.

Emergency rules imposed by Prime Minister Doug Ford’s government when he announced a new stay at home order this month, expected to be in effect through at least May 20, prohibit organized outdoor recreation, including golf and tennis stop the spread of COVID-19.

However, one expert said the police-golf course showdown was the result of restrictions that could slow COVID-19 little down and instead push people into riskier behaviors.

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“The third wave is not driven by outdoor activities. The third wave is driven by two things – variation and transmission in the workplace – and that’s what we should focus on, ”said Raywat Deonandan, epidemiologist and associate professor of health sciences at the University of Ottawa.

He said the best way to weather the pandemic storm is to make low-risk activities even safer and more accessible to people.

“There has to be a harm reduction approach, and that means people are allowed to do the less risky instead of the high risk,” Deonandan said, adding that the first two waves of the pandemic showed that the risk of outdoor transmission was lower is.

“When you ban everything completely, you are forcing people to engage in activities that are potentially harmful.”

However, the province defended the restrictions even after some aspects had to be traced, such as a ban on the use of playgrounds.

“The public health measures we have introduced are designed to reduce mobility and limit the risk of transmission in order to stabilize and protect our health system,” said Alexandra Hilkene, spokeswoman for Health Minister Christine Elliott, in a statement.

“As we continue to work to vaccinate Ontarians as soon as possible, everyone should continue to adhere to public health measures and stay at home as much as possible.”

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