An organization representing young soccer players across the province is begging Premier Ford to allow children to safely return to play as soon as possible.
Ontario Soccer has penned an open letter to Ford, stating that "with every passing day that children are kept away from soccer pitches, baseball diamonds, basketball courts, and other outdoor playing fields and facilities, a mental health crisis grows."
Ontario Soccer calls on @fordnation to address the Hidden Mental Health Pandemic impacting our youth athletes and a… https://t.co/YjhZiJIAO9— Ontario Soccer (@Ontario Soccer)1620219843.0
Outdoor amenities such as golf courses, basketball courts, and soccer fields were mandated to close as part of Ontario's most recent set of COVID-19 measures, implemented on Saturday, April 17, 2021.
"Tragically, and for far too long, organized outdoor play has not been available as an accessible way for all Ontarians to take care of themselves, irrespective of their background, demographic, or socio-economic status," reads Ontario Soccer's letter.
The letter also cites the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory table, which stated that policies such as a ban on outdoor activities "will disproportionately harm children and those who do not have access to their own greenspace, especially those living in crowded conditions."
The organization has developed a Return To Play plan, which they hope they can implement "at the earliest opportunity." However, the province's health officials said on Tuesday that outdoor activities can't reopen until there's a "continued reduction" in cases.