Limited minor team sport training to be allowed when COVID-19 restrictions ease Monday

·2 min read

The province confirmed Saturday that it will move ahead with the first round of eased COVID-19 restrictions on Monday, including limited school and minor sport training.

The plan for a gradual reopening announced in late January is contingent on an ongoing decrease in hospitalizations.

The first stage, beginning Monday, required fewer than 600 patients in hospital with COVID-19. As of Friday, that number stood at 475, including 89 people in intensive care.

Children and youth will be allowed to participate in lessons, practices and conditioning activities for both indoor and outdoor sports. Performance activities, such as music class, are also permitted. Games are still not allowed.

A news release Saturday laid out a number of rules for youth and minor sports and activities:

  • All participants must be 18 years old or younger, excluding coaches and trainers;

  • A maximum of 10 people, including coaches, trainers and participants, are allowed;

  • All participants must maintain social distancing at all times;

  • Participants must be masked at all times, except when engaged in physical activity;

  • Coaches and trainers must always be masked;

  • Access to change rooms should be limited to "accelerated" arrival and departure, for emergencies and washroom use only.

The news may have come as a surprise to minor sports associations: Hockey Calgary reacted to the news, writing on Twitter that Saturday's announcement was the first it had heard about the change in rules.

In the first phase, restaurants, pubs, bars, lounges and cafes can open for dine-in service, and trainers can work with clients one-on-one in gyms and fitness studios — but a number of restrictions must be followed in both cases.

The province has also said it will be keeping an eye on a number of metrics such as case numbers and the appearance of new variants of COVID-19.

That will determine if restrictions can be further eased, if there needs to be pause, or even if restrictions have to increase again.

To move from one stage to the next, hospitalizations must remain below the benchmarks the province has set out for three weeks.

For Stage 2, when hospitalizations fall below 450, restrictions will be eased on retail businesses, community halls and hotels, banquet halls and conference centres.

Below 300, restrictions will loosen on places of worship, adult team sports, public attractions, theatres, casinos and libraries will be eased.

All other activities — including festivals, weddings and sporting events — will have to wait until hospitalizations drop below 150.