Outdoor Facilities to Remain Closed Until COVID-19 Cases Decline Significantly

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TORONTO - Ontario says its closure of outdoor recreational facilities will remain in place until COVID-19 cases decline significantly.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says the province currently has no timeline for the reopening of facilities such as tennis courts and golf courses.

She says residents need to limit their mobility as much as possible to reduce transmission of the virus.

Elliott says the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and patients in intensive-care units would have to go down and a backlog of surgeries would have to be worked through before the ban on outdoor sports and other restrictions can be lifted.

The province brought in the ban in April, when it extended a stay-at-home order and imposed further restrictions amid soaring cases.

Its science advisers have criticized the restriction of outdoor activities, saying they will not control COVID-19.

Some facilities have been flouting the rules and taking on the consequences — a golf course in Tillsonburg, Ont., and some of its players have been charged under the restrictions.

Mike Kelly, the executive director of the Golf Association of Ontario, says his organization has had productive conversations with the province, but he believes courses are safe and should be allowed to open.

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