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Ontario closes all outdoor recreational facilities due to coronavirus

Last Updated Mar 31, 2020 at 5:27 am EDT

Empty tennis courts in Toronto during the COVID-19 outbreak, March 26, 2020. CITYNEWS/Jeff Ducharme

All Ontario outdoor recreational facilities have been ordered closed by the provincial government

Toronto and other municipalities had already closed most facilities

Photos and video from the weekend showed people congregating in parks despite warnings from health officials

The Ontario government ordered closed all outdoor recreational facilities including sports fields and playgrounds in a bid to stop the spread of COVID-19.

The government made the announcement Monday night as video and photos surfaced of people congregating in parks despite warnings from the government officials and Toronto Mayor John Tory that people are putting themselves and others at risk.

The closure order comes as the province extended the emergency declaration until April 13.

“I made a commitment to be open and upfront about what we need to do as a province to beat this virus,” said Premier Doug Ford in a news release Monday. “Based on the best medical advice available, we are taking further steps today to protect the health and safety of all Ontarians by closing outdoor recreational amenities, like sports fields and playgrounds, and extending our emergency orders to save lives.”

The government said the closure order covers the following facilities, both public and private:

  • playgrounds and sports fields,
  • basketball and tennis courts,
  • off-leash dog parks,
  • beaches and┬ápicnic areas
  • skateboard and BMX parks
  • outdoor community gardens
  • park shelters
  • outdoor exercise equipment
  • condo parks and gardens
  • other outdoor recreational amenities


“Green spaces in parks, trails, ravines and conservation areas that aren’t otherwise closed would remain open for walkthrough access, but individuals must maintain the safe physical distance of at least two metres apart from others,” a government news release said. “Ontario’s provincial parks and conservation reserves remain closed.”