Sports and multi-use fields reopen in Toronto

Published On July 8, 2020 | By Pooja Luthra | COVID-19, Sports
The media checks in at the Rogers Centre during the Toronto Blue Jays Workout. REUTERS/Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
The media checks in at the Rogers Centre during the Toronto Blue Jays workout. (REUTERS/Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports)
Pooja Luthra

The City of Toronto announced the reopening of 170 outdoor sports and multi-use field locations on July 7.

The outdoor sports and multi-use fields are open for team training and practice and permits would be granted to the organizations, according to a July 6 city news release.

“Toronto has entered Stage 2 of the province’s reopening and will now be able to use more amenities found in city parks,” Mayor John Tory said in a press conference. “I’m pleased that athletes will now have the opportunity to safely train and practice at Toronto’s outdoor fields this summer.”

Toronto Mayor John Tory’s tweet highlighting his July 6 press conference that announced the reopening of sports facilities under specific restrictions.

Carl Geogevski, the head coach of the University of Toronto’s Varsity Blues track and field team, believes the reopening of 170 sports locations was required to improve the health of athletes.

“This is a great beginning for the entire community as long as everyone abides by the policies set by all levels of governments and the Provincial and National Sport Governing bodies,” he said in an e-mail interview.

Basil Phillips, a women’s soccer head coach at Algonquin College in Ottawa, was excited and pleased about the news.

“I think different sport locations opening up is a necessary step in getting people back into sport and activity,” he said in a telephone interview.

James Pasternak, city councillor ward six and chair of the infrastructure and environment committee, said the closure of these facilities caused a great amount of discomfort and disruption to local communities.

He said reopening these locations with limited capacity was important.

Phillips said he believes the training sessions would help athletes to divert their minds from the pandemic.             

“I think athletes need to have a sense of what’s normal now and have a sense of motivation,” he said. “Being able to go to a place and be able to train is just again another step towards self-motivation and improvement.”

Only 10 people are permitted inside a field and every participant must undergo COVID-19 self-assessment outlined on the Ontario Ministry of Health website.

Activities that involve close contact among individuals are not granted permission to be practiced or played on a field, as stated in the news release.

“Maintaining social distancing while practicing is tough, but different organizations have set out different methods in turn of how to achieve that. And a lot of that is based on no contact,” Phillips said.

“So, there would no game activity, but you can still work on technical things with individual skill and do fitness and training in that regard,” he said.

Reo Stubbs, a basketball player at Algonquin College, said he was not initially happy with the decision to reopen the facilities but still looks forward to how it works.

“I feel like a lot of things can happen indoors. This is because, in sports, you can’t keep the distance,” he said.

However, he said implementing the right steps and following the proper guidelines could make a big difference.

“I think it is crucial to see the reaction of what procedures they could put in place to keep everyone safe and just keep a strictly limited amount of people that can go to the gym or training sessions by making an appointment,” Stubbs said.

Geogevski said people need to be physically active, and as long as everyone follows the rules, this would be good for the overall health of the community.

The news release stated scrimmages and games cannot begin even in the course of training or among teammates.

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