London

Sneaking in a round of golf? What you can and can't do outdoors

For Londoners experiencing cabin fever and looking to get outside, it's best to know what you can and can't do. Golf, for the record, is a big no-no.

Disobeying an emergency order set by the province can result in a $750 fine

The Thames Valley Golf Club closed its course and clubhouse on March 16 until further notice due to COVID-19. (Travis Dolynny/CBC)

For Londoners experiencing cabin fever and looking to get outside, it's best to know what you can and can't do. Golf, for the record, is a big no-no. 

Police were called to Thames Valley Golf Course around 4 p.m. Friday, March 27 after residents reported up to 25 people on the course.

Officers asked the golfers to vacate the property and police say they complied without any issues. No charges were laid.

Lucky for the golfers! The fines under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act are hefty.

Failing to comply with an order will cost you $750.  Obstructing a person enforcing an order is $1,000. And there are also specific orders set out for corporations resulting in fines of $500,000.

To date, London police officers have only slapped people with warnings.

"So far, that approach has worked," said Const. Sandasha Bough. "If there's a consistent or ongoing non-compliance, then formal charges may become the best enforcement action."

No fines for walking. At a distance!

All public play structures across London, Ont. are off-limits in response to efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19. (Travis Dolynny/CBC)

While playgrounds, courts, skate parks and golf courses are off limits, that doesn't mean people can't get out of the house and enjoy the spring weather.

"It's okay to be in your yard, it's okay to be in your backyard, your front yard, it's okay to go for a walk," said Bough.

When people are out for a walk, they must adhere to keeping a minimum distance of two metres apart, she added.

There are also exemptions to the number of people who can gather in one place.

Families with five or more people are exempt from the order in their own house or yard. Funeral gatherings are allowed to have 10 people, excluding funeral home staff. Day care centres set up for front-line workers are also exempt from the order.

Don't call 9-1-1

If you see a business or individuals you believe are violating the order, police are asking Londoners not to call 9-1-1, but to submit reports by email or phone to the city's dedicated tip line.

Londoners can either send an email to COVIDOrderConcerns@london.ca or call 519-661-4660 between 8:30 a.m and 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday.

Since its launch on Friday, the tip line has received more than 1,200 calls and emails from residents.

Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act Orders:

  • Engaging in activities at closed outdoor structures, including playgrounds, courts, skate parks and golf courses.
  • Opening non-essential businesses.
  • Gathering in groups more than five people.
  • Disobeying federal quarantine orders.
  • Businesses price-gouging for essential services.

 

now