Thursday, May 20, 2021

Toronto working to reopen the great outdoors

Woo Hoo! Something positive is happening as Premier Doug Ford today announced a roadmap to reopening the province based on the rate of vaccinations. Before the steps begin Doug has lifted the restrictions on outdoor sports beginning Saturday, May 22, 2021 and you will be allowed to play golf, tennis, get in the skateboard parks, sports fields and the like. Pictured at top: the sun will come out TO installation at City Hall during Toronto Nuit Blanche 2016.

From the Premier's office "Roadmap to Reopen is a cautious three-step plan that will guide a safe and gradual reopening of the province and the lifting of public health measures based on the provincewide vaccination rate and improvements in key public health and health system indicators. The province will remain in each of the steps for at least 21 days to evaluate any impacts on key public health indicators. If at the end of the 21 days, the vaccination thresholds have been met, alongside positive trends of other key public health and health system indicators, then the province will move forward."

The City of Toronto in response to the announcement has started the process to remove locks and signs on the outdoor facilities and basketball nets. Mayor John Tory - you know the guy with that hair thing going on right now, says "I want to thank Premier Ford and the cabinet for opening outdoor recreation amenities starting this weekend. City staff are working now to open those amenities for this weekend. The announcement today from the Ontario government recognizes the progress we have all made in stopping the spread of COVID-19 by following the public health measures. It is also a testament to the tremendous work being done to get as many people as possible vaccinated with the available vaccine supply. The fight against COVID-19 continues along with our immunization efforts but today we have the kind of clear roadmap forward we were seeking, so we could get on with safely and cautiously reopening."

The city advises people to social distance (2m) from those outside your household. And although the fields will be open, team sports will not be allowed and other services and options within the parks will remain closed - like clubhouse, change areas, pavilions and lockers.

Outdoor recreation areas to open include golf courses, disc golf courses, sports courts and fields (i.e. basketball and tennis courts, soccer fields, baseball diamonds, lawn bowling greens), BMX and skate parks, picnic tables and shelters, outdoor fitness equipment and dry pads located at outdoor artificial ice rinks.

Councillor Jennifer McKelvie (Scarborough-Rouge Park), Chair of the Infrastructure and Environment Committee states that "Access to outdoor recreational amenities is critical to the physical and mental health of all Torontonians. With over 1,500 public parks in our City, we are excited to reopen the outdoor recreational amenities for residents to enjoy, while maintaining continued health measures to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.”

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