As of December 24, 2020, updates have been made to the restrictions announced in the written Provincial Health Order on Gatherings and Events. These updates apply to all sport activities in B.C.
Five key points have been further clarified and are now included, and more information is available on the government website here. Clarifications include:
- “Adult team sport” refined with respect to “group sport”: Group sport is defined as sporting activities involving more than one person 22 years of age and older and includes training and practice for an individual or a team sport, but does not include sport activities for children or youth, varsity sport or high-performance athlete sport activities.
- If the group sport is indoors, only two persons participate (e.g. singles tennis or an athlete and a coach training session);
- If the group sport is outdoors, only four persons participate (e.g. four individuals may run together or four individuals could run soccer drills).
- The participants maintain a distance of three metres from one another while engaged in the group sport, unless the participants reside in the same private residence. For example, individuals should not be playing a sport with four people and then switching teams to another group of four during the same time slot.
- The decision was made to update the age from 19 to 22 years of age or older because an unintended consequence to restricting adult sport and defining adult as 19 years of age and over, was the exclusion of some participants who are on the same team. There are many sports with participants on the same team who are both under the age of 18 and 19 or over. By increasing the age to 22 or older, it allows for those who are 19, 20, and 21 to continue to participate in their sports.
- Travel to home club: Individuals are permitted to travel to their home club for the purpose of sport, while following all restrictions in the current public health order.
- Home club is defined as the sport organization, club, or facility at which a person is registered for ongoing sport programming.
- Individuals should not carpool with other participants who are not in their household.
- High performance exemption: High performance athletes are individuals who have been identified to a targeted athlete list with the Canadian Sport Institute-Pacific (CSI-P) by their respective Provincial Sport Organization (PSO) or National Sport Organization (NSO).
- A person who is a high-performance athlete who is already training in B.C. may train, compete and travel for that purpose if they follow the COVID safety protocols of their respective provincial or national sport organization.
- Sport for children and youth means an activity which is delivered by a provincial sport organization or a local sport organization and may include participants who are under 22 years of age, but does not include varsity sports. The PHO Order for Events and Gatherings differentiates between adult and youth sport activities.
- Participants maintain a physical distance of three metres from one another and do not engage in handshaking, high fives, hugging, etc.
- Participants can only travel to their home club.
- Children and youth sport may include participants who are under the age of 22.
- Games, tournaments and competitions are temporarily suspended for teams.
- The focus is on activities that have a low risk of COVID-19 virus transmission (i.e. can maintain three metres physical distance).
- Intercollegiate varsity sport exemption: Varsity sport is defined in the order as a sport for which the eligibility requirements for participation are established by a national association for the regulation of intercollegiate athletics, or which is designated as a varsity sport program by a post-secondary institution.
- Individuals of any age may participate in varsity sport if they are a member of a varsity sport team and they only train or practice with the post-secondary institution with which they are enrolled.
- Varsity sport, at this time, needs to follow viaSport’s Return to Sport Guidelines (i.e. maintain three metres physical distance and travel is limited to the athlete’s respective post-secondary institution).
As a reminder, this PHO Order is in place until January 8, 2021, at which time government officials will determine if extensions or changes are required based on COVID-19 transmission data. Reducing interactions will help keep communities safe and healthy and lower the risk to our health care system. It is a good idea to review the most recent FAQ.