Sault mayor calls for an end to outdoor restrictions

Sault Ste. Marie’s mayor is calling on the provincial government to reconsider restrictions placed on outdoor activities.

While those restrictions are designed to contain the spread of COVID-19, Christian Provenzano said they may end up having the opposite effect.

“My feeling is that it’s pretty clear that outdoor activity is preferable to indoor activity,” says Provenzano. “And we want to discourage people from collecting indoors and gathering indoors and spending time indoors with other people.”

Provenzano said placing restrictions on outdoor activities, such as golf, will drive people indoors.

“My hope is that the government will take a look at what the science table is saying, and the government will take a look at how outdoor activity is preferable, and will make some adjustments to its orders to encourage people and support people, facilitate people being outside,” he said.

Golf courses have been forced to close as part of provincial health orders. Provenzano said golf is a great example of an outdoor sport that can be enjoyed safely. He adds getting outside is good for people’s mental health during these trying times.

Jeff Hamilton, head pro at the Sault Ste. Marie Golf Club, said while people travelling from outside the region to play represents a risk, the sport itself does not.

“I think there’s a number of aspects, including travel and things like that, but certainly last summer, golf proved to be very safe,” said Hamilton. “I think they had some stats in Ontario that there was no COVID spread on golf courses. So that was certainly an excellent stat for the industry.”

Hamilton said if not for the restrictions on outdoor activities, the golf club would be open now.

“We would have been open in the last week or so,” he said. “The course is in great shape and we’re looking forward to opening.”