Ennis, Pangos among Canadian basketball players weathering pandemic abroad

Dylan Ennis posted a video on social media on Sunday of his young daughter Amiyah, toddling at full speed toward the camera, giggling with delight.

In Spain, where Ennis lives with his wife Megan and their daughter who recently turned one, it was the first time in nearly two months that children were permitted to play outdoors as the country began to methodically ease the lockdown from COVID-19.

"Oh, my gosh, it was everything," said Ennis, a basketball player from Brampton, Ont. "Our daughter loves being outside. She just started walking so she loves to run everywhere. It just helps being outside our four walls."

When the coronavirus shut down sports around the world a few weeks ago, dozens of Canada basketball players plotted their long trips home from abroad. Jamie Scott, who played in the Russian women's league for Dynamo Novosibirsk, finally returned home this week.

Weathering the storm in Spain

Ennis and Kevin Pangos, who both play in Liga ACB, Europe's top league, opted to stay and weather the storm in Spain, which has seen almost 25,000 deaths due to coronavirus.

Lockdown in Spain has been serious business. Until Sunday, residents were only permitted outside to go to a grocery store or pharmacy.

Pangos, a point guard from Holland Landing, Ont., lives in Barcelona, where silence descended like a heavy curtain when the country locked down.

"All you could hear was the wind. We live in the city centre, so that's really unusual," said Pangos, who plays for 18-time Spanish League winner FC Barcelona. "The occasional bus might go by. But it was really, really eerie.

"They really weren't messing around, taking any chances. And everyone followed [the rules]. When I would go to the grocery store it was like a ghost town, I felt like I was in a movie where it like a deserted city, because I didn't really see anybody out in the streets. It's crazy that we're going through this right now."

Some non-essential workers were allowed back on the job last week as gradual lifting of lockdown restrictions began.

"Now, you can hear the construction workers. I never thought I'd actually be excited to hear the construction across the street start up again," Pangos said with a laugh. "It was actually kind of a refreshing feeling."

As part of this phase of re-opening, people are permitted to walk outside for an hour a day, but only one adult per family at a time, and they must remain within a kilometre of the house or risk "hefty fines," Pangos said. His wife Kate takes their daughter Olivia for a walk. Pangos goes out separately with their dog.