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COVID-19: Tillsonburg golf club temporarily closing after series of charges

People playing golf in defiance of the provinces stay-at-home order at The Bridges at Tillsonburg. April 24, 2021. Sawyer Bogdan/Global News

The Bridges at Tillsonburg Golf Club, which has remained open in defiance of the province’s stay-at-home order, is announcing that it will be temporarily closing.

The announcement comes less than a week after the club itself was first charged and days after OPP began charging golfers.

Read more: COVID-19: 19 more charges issued under Reopening Ontario Act at Tillsonburg golf club

Provincial police announced Thursday that The Bridges of Tillsonburg had been charged with failing to comply with the closure order.

On Saturday, Oxford OPP announced two more charges against The Bridges and five charges involving patrons.

On Monday, police said 19 patrons were charged on Saturday and Sunday, all with failing to comply with an order under the Reopening Ontario Act.

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In a statement released Tuesday evening, The Bridges says its decision to remain open was “not about making money” but was “in protest of unreasonable measures.”

“To demonstrate this, we are donating all the profits from the course opening to organizations who represent those who have been adversely affected by the lockdowns. Including the Tillsonburg Helping Hand Food Bank, Domestic Abuse Service Oxford (DASO), and Wellkin (Child & Youth Mental Wellness).”

The Bridges says the decision to close is not due to lack of support but because “the enforcement by the provincial government has been overbearing.”

Read more: Ontario’s new COVID-19 restrictions have science ‘absolutely upside-down,’ experts say

Speaking with Global News before the closure was announced, Tillsonburg Mayor Stephen Molnar said that individual opinions are respected, but adhering to public health measures is necessary.

“Whether we agree or disagree individually, we (need) to follow the current restrictions that are the laws of the province of Ontario,” he said.

“We need to collectively work together (and) we’ll get through this.”

OPP, meanwhile, have been asking that “businesses and members of the public voluntarily comply with the government-mandated shutdown” and stay-at-home order in place as part of the province’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Health Minister Christine Elliott said Tuesday that Ontario’s closure of outdoor recreational facilities will remain in place until COVID-19 cases decline significantly.

The province’s ban on outdoor recreational facilities has been criticized by its science advisors, who’ve argued that the measures will not control COVID-19 and disproportionately harm children and those who don’t have access to their own green space.

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— with files from Global News’ Kelly Wang and The Canadian Press’ John Chidley-Hill.

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