NDP motion to reopen outdoor amenities rejected by Ford government

Health Minister suggests possible reopening of golf courses before June 2

Some mixed messaging coming from Queen’s Park.

In the legislature on Monday, an NDP motion to safely and immediately reopen outdoor facilities including golf courses and tennis courts was rejected by the Ford government.

But when chatting with reporters after Question Period, Health Minister Christine Elliott offered a bit of hope to duffers who want to get into the swing of things.

“We are anticipating there may be other events – summer camps, golf, tennis and other things – available as of June 2, or perhaps before depending on the clinical evidence we receive,” Elliott told reporters.

The health minister was much more adamant during Question Period about holding the line and not reopening outdoor amenities before June 2 when the current stay-at-home order is scheduled to end.

“The Ontario Hospital Association is not in favour of opening all outdoor activities at this point,” Elliott said. “Our numbers are still high in intensive care units today at 779.”

Elliott said the weather is getting better and people can still go out.

“Go out for a run, walk the dog, let the kids go run in the park. All of that can still happen.”

New Democrat MPP Sara Singh said safe outdoor activities remain empty even though medical experts never recommended closing those places.

“I think it’s important we highlight this as an equity issue,” said Singh during Question Period. “Not everyone has access to a backyard they can roll around in.”

Elliott said the government encourages people to go outdoors and to not stay inside all day. She said there were many ways people can get exercise, pointing out that parks are still open.

“We have to do this in order that our hospitals remain able to take in all the people that they need to take in, and we don’t let variants of concern take over again,” Elliott told the legislature. “The last thing we want is a fourth wave in Ontario which would be devastating for the province.”