Ontario closes all golf courses amid Canada’s recent COVID spike

Tim Schmitt
·3 min read

Just three weeks ago, Canadian golf’s governing association launched a new campaign in an effort to retain those who took up or came back to the game during a record-setting 2020.

But the Golf is Calling movement suffered a major setback when Ontario premier Doug Ford pushed a new order into effect in the country’s most populous province — one that closes golf courses and a number of other outdoor activities as of Saturday. This came as part of a stay-at-home order Ford issued on Friday.

According to an article in the Toronto Sun:

Ontario government is closing all outdoor recreational amenities including golf courses, basketball courts, soccer fields and playgrounds with some exceptions as of Saturday.

Grocery stores and similar retail settings that permit in-store shopping will be limited to 25% capacity, likely to bring a return of last spring’s lengthy lineups.

This comes after a rise in COVID cases north of the border, a trend that surprised officials due to lower infection rates than counterparts in the United States throughout the early portion of the pandemic.

Also, Ford’s order allows law enforcement to randomly stop citizens, according to the article.

Police officers in Ontario will be given extraordinary temporary powers to stop individuals — on foot and in their cars — and demand to know where they’re going and where they live under a new pandemic crackdown by the Doug Ford government.

Hot spots like Toronto have already largely been on lockdown since November but patios recently opened in the city, the country’s largest city. The new restrictions across the province come after months of unheeded warnings from health experts.

The response to close golf courses — most of which had yet to open — has drawn the ire of many, including some of the nation’s journalists.

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Vaccinations have ramped up in Canada in recent weeks and all adults who want a vaccine are expected to get at least one dose by July.

Lingering concerns with the border tied into COVID-19 had earlier forced PGA Tour officials and organizers of the RBC Canadian Open to cancel the event for the second straight year.

The event, which was established in 1904, is currently the third-oldest national championship in golf behind The Open Championship and the U.S. Open.

The most recent Canadian Open was held in 2019 at Hamilton Golf & Country Club in Ontario, when Rory McIlroy won in his debut there. This year’s event had been scheduled for June 7-12 at St. George’s Golf & Country Club in the Toronto suburb of Etobicoke.

While organizers of the event were working on a comprehensive plan to revive the event for this year, current quarantine restrictions and other logistical issues made the tournament’s completion uncertain.

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