Dr. Henry bans adult team sports; kids dialed back to practice only

All indoor adult team sports are temporarily prohibited, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced Wednesday night. The sports include ­basketball, netball, ice hockey, floor hockey, ringette, skating, cheerleading, combat sports, martial arts, soccer, squash and volleyball. Structured child and youth programs and sport are permitted, but must meet ViaSport Phase 2 requirements, which means certain aspects of practices and training can ­continue.

The restriction order comes after Henry outlined the case of an Oldtimers hockey team from the Interior that traveled to Alberta to play and returned with several players infected by COVID-19, who in turn infected others in the community.

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“We continue to see that indoor group activities — whether for fitness or team sports — are much higher risk right now. The details of sports activities have been added to the order on events and gatherings,” said Henry, in a joint statement with B.C. health minister Adrian Dix.

‘We know the restrictions put an added burden on what is an already difficult time for all of us, but they are what is required right now. Despite the fatigue, let’s stand strong against this virus. We are asking everyone in B.C. to please do a bit more right now and help everyone to see us through to the light ahead.”

The order also requires all indoor group “high-intensity” fitness activities be stopped. These include spin classes, aerobics, hot yoga, boot camp, dance classes, dance fitness, circuit training, and interval training. Low intensity fitness activities such as yoga, Pilates, tai chi, stretching and individual fitness activity is also prohibited until new guidelines are in place next week.

It is not clear what the joint communique meant by “adult” team sport. There is a separate high-performance model that has pertained to the guidelines, which includes national team athletes training on the Island and in Richmond and Whistler. It is also not clear how this affects other higher-performance indoor sports. University of Victoria Vikes, Camosun College ­Chargers and Vancouver Island University Mariners team sports — indoors and outdoors — have already been cancelled for the season. But the Junior A B.C. Hockey League, with five teams in the Island Division, is ­scheduled to open the regular season Dec. 8 and the Victoria Royals of the Western Hockey League on Jan. 8.

cdheensaw@timescolonist.com

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