Time for Ford to lift ban on lawn bowling, tennis

By Joe Warmington, Toronto Sun April 28, 2021

It’s not enough to say you’re for the people. You need to show it.

The provincial government reconsidered playground closures and cancelled powers that would allow random police stops.

Now, in East York, many are hoping Premier Doug Ford will soon bring back lawn bowling.

“It’s a game that already has social distancing,” said Councillor Paula Fletcher. “We understand the risks of COVID-19, but this is an example of something that could be taken off the lockdown list.”

The tennis courts next to it on 525 Cosburn Ave. should come off that list, too.

“There are some things that got caught in the blanket shutdown we feel are activities that could be exempt from the restrictions,” said Fletcher. “It’s not lost on people they can go to a box store with dozens of people but can’t be in the fresh air with just a few people.”

The Toronto-Danforth councillor is correct. These lockdowns mean well but can do more harm than good.

“We know that lawn bowling can be played safely,” said Sandy Johnson, president of the Cosburn Park Lawn Bowling Club. “It’s easy to maintain physical distance on the greens. There’s no contact between players, and we don’t share equipment.”

The history of this club goes back 92 years, and it’s bizarre seeing it looking so green but empty.

Last summer, they “implemented a strict safety protocol that included extra space between games and between players, an online booking system for contact tracing, and regular surface cleaning” and “had no reported cases of COVID-19 among its members.”

Said Johnson: “The Ontario government should assess risk for each sport on its own merits. Maybe some contact sports need special rules, but lawn bowling is like golf or singles tennis; we don’t need to get close to other players. Safety is built into our game.”

Beach volleyball should be added to this list.

On the weekend, we covered how the city had erected signs preventing people from playing volleyball at Woodbine Beach. Then along came bylaw officers, as seen in a series of tweets, followed by people tearing down their nets and going home.

It seems they didn’t issue those unfair $880 fines, but sent would-be players back inside where they actually may be at risk. While there is a concern that ICUs in Ontario hospitals are at capacity, there also needs to be a concern about people’s mental health.

Mostly, as Fletcher said, there needs to be common sense applied.

There is nothing easy about being a leader during this pandemic, but closing things down, opening them back up and shutting them down again is confusing for people.

It’s great that Netflix is opening up a Canadian headquarters and making a movie called The Wedding Season. But the real-life wedding season is effectively postponed while those involved in shooting the movie have the means and protocols to get around the restrictions.

It’s not fair.

The answer is not to close down movies but to open up as many things possible to try to end this dark period and boost the city’s morale.

People can only listen to so many conversations about vaccines and infection numbers.

A lot of people don’t have anything to do other than watch the news and see how bad things are. Letting them safely skateboard, play basketball, tennis, croquet, or lawn bowling is vital.

In all the years I have known Ford, the premier has always shown he truly cares about regular people. He now has a chance to prove it.


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