Local sports organizations in B.C. can now engage in competitive play, following an announcement from the province Monday (Aug. 24).
In a news release, the province said the B.C. Centre for Disease Control has reviewed and approved viaSport’s Return to Sport Guidelines for Phase 3. The new phase allows for “modified” games matches, league play and competitions within sport cohorts, and additional training opportunities.
According to viaSport’s guidelines, organizations are advised to “start conservatively and slowly introduce new activities within this phase.” Phase 3 allows for non-essential travel, but retains the 50 person gathering restrictions, the two metres distance when not in play, and cohorts for contact sports. Illness policies must be created and each person within the sports group must go through a COVID-19 self-assessment each time they come to play.
Phase 3 will see sports divided into four categories based on the number and intensity of contact. Sports that can keep up two metres of distance between players are instructed to do so, while contact sports will be split up into cohorts.
According to viaSport, a cohort is “a group of participants who primarily interact with each other within the sport environment over an extended period of time.” Cohort sizes are different for each sport: up to 10 people for combative sports (e.g. boxing, judo, taekwondo), 50 people or four teams for sports with frequent or sustained contact (e.g. basketball, cheerleading, hockey), 100 people for sports such baseball, lawn bowling, volleyball, and up to 100 for sports that are either individual or play in groups of 10 or less, where there is no contact with people outside your team (e.g. tennis, badminton, skiing). However, max gathering size can still not exceed 50 people.
People within a cohort do not have to physically distance from each other, although viaSport still recommends minimizing contact where possible.
As B.C. local sports return to competitive play starting today, here's a brief overview of @viaSportBC's guidelines.Remember: return to play phases are different from the ones the rest of B.C. is in. Story coming from @BlackPressMedia.#bcpoli pic.twitter.com/B7NKUVNw6O
— Kat Slepian (@katslepian) August 24, 2020
As teams and leagues return to competitive play, safety plans must be drawn up which minimize contact, outline outbreak protocol and emphasize extra sanitizing. Interprovincial play remains banned.
Although some spectators are allowed, viaSport is discouraging any that are outside immediate family, and spectators must fall into the 50 person limit.
For more information on the viaSport guidelines, visit: https://www.viasport.ca/sites/default/files/Phase3_ReturntoSportGuidelines_web_0.pdf.
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