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Adult sports suspended, youth sports scaled back in latest B.C. health order

No games allowed under latest regulations aimed at slowing spread of COVID-19
harry jerome statue mask
A mask is placed on the Harry Jerome statue in Stanley Park. photo VIA Facebook/Masks 4 All Canadians

Team sports in British Columbia have been suspended for all adults and scaled back for all youth athletes following the latest provincial health orders released today.

Dr. Bonnie Henry announced the changes yesterday and the new orders were released on the province’s COVID-19 page today.

“All indoor and outdoor sports for people 19 years of age and older are suspended,” the order noted.

As for youth sport, the order moved all indoor and outdoor sport for people under the age of 19 back to viaSport’s Phase 2 guidelines, meaning games, tournaments and competitions are temporarily suspended.

“Individual drills and modified training activities can continue,” the regulation stated. “Amateur sports organizations and leagues may implement additional guidelines to ensure the health and safety of participants.”

This mid-week change to the health order forced sport organizations to make on-the-fly adjustments or cancellations to training sessions and games scheduled for youth athletes, a fact that was acknowledged by provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry in her press briefing today.

“I know that things you look forward to have been so adversely affected by this pandemic,” she said. “Young people have really taken the brunt of some of these changes, and I know that is hard. But I also know that you are adaptable, and you’re superheroes in my mind, and I know that you can makes this work.”

The Phase 2 guidelines from viaSport call for athletes to maintain physical distancing while focusing on fundamental movement skills with modified training activities and drills.

Restrictions on spectators remain in place, with no spectators permitted at sporting events with the exception being those that provide care, such as first aid, for a participant. Travel to and from neighbouring communities for games or training is also prohibited by the health order.

Click here to see the specifics of viaSport’s Phase 2 guidelines.

Exemptions to the latest orders include athletes “identified by the Canadian Sports Institute Pacific as a high performance athlete affiliated with an accredited provincial or national sports organization.”

The order also stipulates that the following types of programs for people under 19 can continue to operate with a COVID-19 safety plan in place, supervised by an adult: educational programs, music, art, dance, drama, recreational programs, outdoor fitness and social activities. Performances, recitals and demonstrations are not allowed at this time, the order stated.