Young Albertans will be allowed to return to team sports in a limited way starting Monday. The province announced Saturday that children and youth will be allowed to participate in lessons, practices, and conditioning activities for indoor and outdoor team-based minor sports and athletics as part of Step 1 of restrictions easing.
Previously, the province had said only school-related sports were being allowed. Games will still be prohibited.
“Despite this small change, one thing remains the same: we all need to be cautious and make safe choices to limit the spread of COVID-19,” says Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw. “It is vital that everyone involved diligently follows the health measures as we move forward. Together, we can continue to reduce the spread and keep protecting our heath system.”
Other restrictions include everyone participating being under the age of 19 years old, other than coaches and trainers, as well as no more than 10 people taking part. Physical distancing is still required, and everyone must wear masks except players when engaged in physical activity. There will also be limited access to change rooms.
The move comes after Hockey Alberta announced its season was cancelled. In a post on Facebook, the heads of the Grande Prairie Minor Hockey Association, Grande Peace Athletic Club, and Peace Country Female Athletic Club said they’ve been in contact with Hockey Alberta, who is meeting to discuss the change.
“GPMHA, GPAC and PCFAC are also in the process of a potential return to play plan once we receive further clarification from Hockey Alberta on our next steps forward (if any at all). Please continue to be patient as we wait to hear from Hockey Alberta and we will update with further information as we receive it.”
Also included in Step 1 is restaurants being able to reopen for dine-in service limited to six people from the same household, other than people who live alone, who can be joined by up to two close contacts. Gyms are allowed to reopen, but only for one-on-one training. The City of Grande Prairie says that includes the Eastlink Centre and Coca-Cola Centre.