No details yet for youth recreation and sports reopening regulations

SOUTH DUNDAS – The provincial government announced on June 14 its return-to-play framework for professional and elite sports in Ontario. While doing so the province did not provide any new guidance for youth competitive and recreational sports.

Professional sports leagues like the Canadian Football League and Canadian Premier League can return to training or even begin league play under strict testing protocols while the province is still in Step One of its three step reopening plan.

Monday’s announcement by Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries Lisa MacLeod focused only on professional and elite sports.

Ontario’s three-step reopening plan identifies Step Two and Step Three with outdoor recreation and sports opening.

Ministry spokesperson Dakota Brasier said that the June 14 announcement was in advance of the broader return to play for amateur and recreational sports.

“That will be enabled through the Roadmap to Reopen, which will allow sport and recreation to resume in incremental steps throughout summer,” Brazier said. “More details on Steps Two and Three under the Roadmap are anticipated in the coming weeks.”

During his June 14 media availability, Eastern Ontario Health Unit Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis said he was anticipating the regulations soon.

“I suspect that they will start with cohorting and those type of things initially and loosen those as we get into the fall months,” he said. “We’re still waiting for the regulations and our team is eagerly awaiting to see those regulations.”

He continued that the EOHU has already received inquiries from municipalities and organizations about indoor sports like hockey and when arenas could be used again.
Indoor recreation facilities are unable to open until Step Three of the provincial plan.

Under Ontario’s previous colour-coded COVID-19 framework, sports leagues could operate with no more than 50 players for a season when a region was in the Green, Yellow, or Orange conditions.

There were also restrictions on parent spectators, the number of coaches and volunteers. This focused mostly on indoor sports over the winter.

Ontario entered Step One of the reopening plan on June 11. There is a minimum of 21 days between each step of the plan, meaning Step Two can begin no earlier than July 2, Step Three on July 23.

In order to move from one step to the next, key indicators like first and second dose vaccination rates, hospital capacity, Intensive Care Unit capacity, and COVID-19 infection rates are looked at.

Unlike the previous colour-coded framework, the Ontario government has adopted a province-wide, rather than a regional approach to reopenings.

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