The city is reopening its nearly 700 sports fields but it will continue to prohibit organized games and scrimmages as well as any other activity that is likely to result in individuals coming within close contact of one another.
The city’s sports fields were shuttered back on March 25 as the COVID-19 pandemic worsened.
In May, the city began to reopen basketball and tennis courts but its sports fields, including baseball diamonds, soccer fields and cricket pitches, remained off-limits.
That, however, will now change.
Speaking with reporters at his bi-weekly COVID-19 briefing on Monday, Mayor John Tory said that the city plans to reopen all of its sports and multi-use fields by tomorrow and will also begin issuing permits for their use once again.
He said that the move will allow “sports training for individual athletes and sorts groups” to resume, as well as “small group outdoor fitness programs, including boot camps and yoga classes.” Summer camps operated by outside agencies will also be able to apply for permits to use the fields.
“I know for many people it will be disappointing that we are not getting back into allowing sports full swing but these are steps necessary to stop the spread of COVID-19 and avoid the kind of resurgence that we are all trying to avoid,” Tory said in making the announcement. “With the lower virus transmission rates associated with outdoor activities, the safe and careful operational plans we have put in place and all of our continued diligence to follow public health guidance we can all enjoy these outdoor activities safely. “
For now there will be a maximum of 10 people allowed on all city sports fields, including coaches and parents and guardians.
Clubhouses, locker rooms and other adjoining facilities will remain closed as per the terms of a provincial emergency order.
Tory said that scrimmages and games will also not be allowed “even amongst teammates.”
“The opening of these fields under these conditions will meet both health recommendations and provincial directions and restrictions on gatherings,” he said.