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Here is why team sports are allowed to continue in B.C. under the latest COVID-19 restrictions

"Do it in a way that minimizes contact."
Travel to, from and between communities for team athletic activities like games, competitions, training and practice is prohibited under the latest order. Photo: Hockey / Getty Images

"Do it in a way that minimizes contact."

While the latest provincial health orders restrict several indoor activities, many team sports have been given the green light to continue by health officials. 

Travel to, from and between communities for team athletic activities like games, competitions, training and practice is prohibited under the latest order. However, this order does not apply to individuals who need to commute out of their home health authority to participate in a team sport. 

So, while a team from Abbotsford cannot attend a training session in Chilliwack, an individual who lives in Vancouver can attend one in Surrey. 

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry told Vancouver Is Awesome in the daily coronavirus (COVID-19) briefing Friday afternoon that physical fitness, particularly children's outdoor sports, is an important part of health. Further, she stressed that transmission is more likely to take place on the sidelines, rather than during the game. 

"What we have said is we've looked at where the the issues are around transmission and they mostly are on the sidelines--before and after. So, that's why we made some restrictions around team travel," she explained.

"No spectators, and to try and at least give opportunities for people to have some activity physical activity in a structured way of their lives because we know that's important."

Under the current order, no spectators are allowed at any sport activities. The only people allowed to attend sport activities are those that provide care to a participant or player. For example, providing first aid. 

"We want people to stay in their community."

In terms of travel, Henry added that people should focus on communities rather than health authorities when it comes to sports: "We want people to stay in their community."

"We're not letting teams play in different communities because we know that means that they might have to carpool. But we know that individuals, particularly in the Lower Mainland, may live in one area and work in another area.

"You may go to school in a community that's adjacent to where you live, so it doesn't make sense to not allow somebody to play in a team in a community that might be across the street, but in a different health authority."

With this in mind, Henry emphasized that people need to "pull it back" and ensure they aren't doing a great deal of travel. Individuals who need to travel to games should go alone or with their immediate families or household.  

Team sports should also be played in a "way that minimizes contact, because we know that there's still transmission happening in our communities," added Henry.

"But it is important for people to get out...and not just for team sports. Everybody should get outside and go for a walk, take your family, take the dog go for a walk 15 minutes a day.

"Get outside, it's important for all of us."

Group indoor fitness activities

Businesses, recreation centres or other organizations that organize or operate high risk indoor group physical activities must suspend the following activities:

  • Spin classes
  • Hot yoga
  • High intensity interval training (HIIT)

​Venues that organize or operate other types of indoor group physical activities must suspend them temporarily while new guidance is being developed. These include:

  • Gymnastics
  • Dance studios
  • Martial arts
  • Yoga
  • Pilates\Strength and conditioning
  • Cheerleading

Gyms and recreation facilities that offer individual workouts and personal training sessions can remain open as long as they have a COVID-19 Safety Plan that is strictly followed. 

The order is in effect from Nov.19 at midnight to Dec. 7 at midnight.