Photo of Toronto beach volleyball player and cop reignites debate over COVID-19 restrictions
A photo of a national volleyball team member who was told to stop training at a Toronto beach sparked strong reactions on social media over the weekend, renewing debate over the restrictions of COVID-19 on outdoor sports facilities.
Sophie Bukovec is seen talking to a Toronto police officer at Woodbine Beach in the photo posted on Twitter Saturday by Canadian Press photojournalist Frank Gunn.
This happened on the first day of ActiveTO, an urban program in which streets are closed to traffic to allow people to walk, run and cycle while remaining physically distant.
Gunn said the beach was 50 yards from Lake Shore Boulevard, where eastbound lanes were open between Leslie Street and Woodbine Avenue for ActiveTO.
Toronto Police Const. Laura Brabant said the officer explained that sports facilities in Toronto were closed due to health restrictions and that no tickets had been issued.
The incident has reignited a fierce conversation about whether outdoor activities should be banned during the province of Ontario’s lockdown to tackle the third wave of COVID-19.
Although the provincial government has backed down on its initial closure of parks and playgrounds, other outdoor recreational facilities, including tennis and basketball courts, golf courses and skate parks, remain. closed. Some public health experts have criticized the decision, noting that outdoor activities pose a lower risk of transmitting COVID than indoor spaces.
Mayor John Tory responded to the interaction between Bukovec and the officer during a PC24 question period on Sunday morning, saying he was not aware of all the details but would look into the matter .
Tory noted the difficult job of police and regulation officers, who must “use their discretion as to when they think it is appropriate to talk to people” when enforcing the stay-at-home order. Province.
Dr Irfan Dhalla, Vice President of Unity Health Toronto and Associate Professor at the University of Toronto, tweeted about his frustration with the incident, writing: “Toronto Public Health does not have the resources to manage the case and trace contacts, but Toronto Police have resources to patrol the beach volleyball courts? We must invest in public health to end the pandemic. “
Ontario Liberal Party candidate and former city councilor Mary Fragedakis tweeted that “the focus should be on locating problems and allocating resources.” She cited outbreaks in the workplace, virus hot spots and the need for paid sick days.
Alheli Picazo, writer and freelance researcher, retweeted the photo, calling it a “great look at terrible politics”, and wondered how athletes will be able to train for the Olympics.
Bukovec could not be reached for comment.