Quebec's gradual return to contact sports to begin mid-June

·2 min read
The Quebec government has prohibited team and contact sports for much of the pandemic. Now, with vaccinations on the rise and cases going down, some sports will be allowed.  (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press - image credit)
The Quebec government has prohibited team and contact sports for much of the pandemic. Now, with vaccinations on the rise and cases going down, some sports will be allowed. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press - image credit)

Baseball, softball, volleyball and soccer players will be able to return to the field as of June 11 in much of Quebec, but those living in areas like Montreal and Laval will have to wait until the end of June.

The province's sports minister, Isabelle Charest, outlined the return to sports on Thursday, saying supervised outdoor sports and recreation will be allowed in groups of up to 25 people.

In red and orange zones, only sports without contact will be allowed. In yellow zones, sports with brief contact is acceptable.

Montreal and Laval athletes, as well as those in parts of the Beauce and the Eastern Townships, will have to wait at least until the end of June to resume their favourite low-contact sports.

As for those who love a lot more contact, combat sports will be permitted only in green zones — the lowest level according to Quebec's colour-coded COVID-19 alert system.

That means while much of the province will be able to hit the mats by the end of June, those living in areas like Montreal and Laval will have to wait.

Isabelle Charest, Quebec's sports minister, is an Olympic medallist in short-track speed skating. She says reopening of certain sports hinges on the COVID-19 situation in the province.
Isabelle Charest, Quebec's sports minister, is an Olympic medallist in short-track speed skating. She says reopening of certain sports hinges on the COVID-19 situation in the province. (Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press)

As usual per any such reopening plan released by the Quebec government, Charest said all this "can be done if, and only if, the epidemiological conditions continue to improve."

Competitions, tournaments and other large events will also be allowed in green zones with spectators as long as the event is held in accordance with the measures governing outdoor gatherings, said the minister.

While waiting for their region to turn yellow, Montreal and Laval athletes will have to fall back on non-contact sports such as golf and tennis.

Or they can simply hit the gym to train, wearing a mask, as soon as their region becomes an orange zone.

"Our patience and collective efforts have paid off," said Charest, an Olympic medallist.

"We still have a few short weeks of adjustment and patience, but we are near some semblance of normality."

Charest said vaccine passports won't be the key to participating in certain sports, but public health advisor Dr. Eric Litvak said everybody should be getting both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible in order to fully return to all sports in the fall.