Local sports fields opening for practices

Teams should be taking to Toronto’s sun-baked parks and playing fields soon, now that outdoor sports facilities have been reopened. The city is now issuing permits to organizations to use the fields for training purposes.

But it will be sports with a difference — many differences actually — from previous summers.

For one thing, of course, the teams will have to observe physical distancing rules in line with the province’s orders regarding gatherings of people, according to the city’s announcement yesterday.

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And no more than 10 people can be on a field at any time. That includes players, coaches, parents and spectators.

No actually games or scrimmages may be played, not even as training exercises, the city says.

The re-opening of fields does not include the use of pavilions, clubhouses, change areas or lockers. Players will have to use personal equipment wherever possible and any provided equipment will have to be cleaned between use.

Playing fields at Moore Park
EMPTY CAGE: Baseball diamond at Moore Park awaits players.

Permit holders are also required to maintain attendance records to facilitate Toronto Public Health contact tracing should it be required.

The announcement affects 700 sports fields at more than 170 sites across Toronto. This includes soccer, softball, lacrosse, baseball and cricket fields.

“Recreation facilities within the City’s more than 1,500 parks have been closed to the public since March to help prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Mayor John Tory said. Since Toronto entered Stage 2 of the province’s reopening plan, Torontonians can use more amenities found in city parks, he noted.

“I’m pleased that athletes will now have the opportunity to safely train and practice at Toronto’s outdoor fields this summer,” Tory said.

Playing fields in Leaside
COOL SPOT: A spectator relaxes in the shade at Leaside’s Trace Manes Park as the field bakes in the afternoon sun.