Golf courses, marinas open for first time since pandemic was declared
TORONTO -- Golf courses, marinas and private parks opened up this weekend for the first time since the province declared a state of emergency in March.
Last week, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said that golfers were “lobbying hard” for him to reopen the courses. On Thursday, Ford said that as part of the first stage of the province’s COVID-19 recovery plan, a number of seasonal recreation facilities will reopen over the long weekend ahead of other businesses.
Golf courses, the province said, could operate as long as the clubhouses were open only for washroom-use and the restaurants provided take-out, not dine-in service.
Marinas, private parks, campgrounds and businesses that board animals will also be open.
Speaking with CP24, Toronto Mayor John Tory said that he hopes the reopening of golf courses will provide a “little sign of Spring” and lift people’s spirits.
“Those who love golf are usually very passionate about it, so I'm so pleased we can open our courses.”
The city is asking anyone who uses a golf course to do a self-assessment for COVID-19 prior to arrival, as anyone experiencing symptoms will not be allowed inside. The city is also urging anyone over the age of 70 or who have weak immune systems to remain at home.
Other public safety measures put in place include:
- No events, tournaments or camps
- Professional lessons and clinics will be limited to four people
- Power cars will be limited to a single rider, unless players reside in the same household
- All power cars and clubs will be sanitized and cleaned after every use
Tom Maidwell was one of numerous golfers out on Saturday at Dentonia Park Golf Club. He told CTV News Toronto that he has missed his friends over the past two months.
“I guess golf, it’s pretty easy to practice social distancing normally so it hasn’t been too different to the way we approach it, but obviously wearing masks and trying to be cautious,” Maidwell said.
“It’s just nice to be able to be outside and spend time with people.”
The City of Toronto told CTV News Toronto Saturday tee times for Saturday are sold out, but there are still slots available Sunday, Monday and throughout the week.
Marinas also allowed to open Saturday
For the first time this year, Willi Steinke was able to hop aboard his sailboat at Bluffer’s Park Marina Saturday.
“It feels wonderful. It’s a rite of Spring to come down here and work on the boat and getting ready for launching and a season of sailin,” Steinke said.
But General Manager and owner Ross Merikallio said things are still far from normal.
He said with all the work that needs to done, checking engines and moving boats down to the docks, the park is about three weeks behind schedule, and marina is still not open to the public, just boat owners.