COVID-19: Here’s what outdoor amenities can reopen in Ontario on Saturday

Victoria Park golf course in Edmonton River Valley on Thursday, April 1, 2021. Eric Beck, Global News

Outdoor amenities will be allowed to reopen effective Saturday as Ontario unveiled its reopening plan amid the COVID-19 pandemic on Thursday.

Premier Doug Ford made the announcement alongside Health Minister Christine Elliott and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams from Queen’s Park.

Though the bulk of the reopening begins on June 14 after the province hits 60 per cent of Ontarians vaccinated, outdoor amenities will be allowed to open and operate as of Saturday at 12:01 a.m.

Read more: What you can do and when under Ontario’s new 3-phase COVID-19 reopening plan

Ontario businesses, critics and experts had been calling for outdoor activities to be reopened after the Ford government shuttered everything as part of the stay-at-home order.

“The great news is that people will be able to launch their boats, they’re going to be out golfing, they’re going to be able to play sports. They’re going to be able to gather with five people outside their family. So this is really good news,” Ford said.

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The following are allowed to reopen Saturday, though with some restrictions in place:

  • Golf courses and driving ranges
  • Soccer and other sports fields
  • Tennis and basketball courts
  • Skate parks.

No outdoor sports or recreational classes are permitted.

Outdoor social gatherings and organized public events will also be expanded to five people, including with members of different households.

Read more: Science suggests low risk of outdoor COVID-19 transmission. Here’s why

“All other public health and workplace safety measures under the provincewide emergency brake will remain in effect,” a release said Thursday.

“I know a lot of people want to move quicker but look where we were at only two weeks ago,” Ford said. “We all want to open up sooner but we have to be cautious.”

As of Thursday, Ontario reported 2,400 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the provincial total to 517,090.

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