Sports associations wait for word from Sask. gov't on what's allowed this summer

·3 min read
Sports associations in Saskatchewan are waiting to receive word from the provincial government about what they can and cannot do over the spring and summer months. (Credit: iStock/Getty Images - image credit)
Sports associations in Saskatchewan are waiting to receive word from the provincial government about what they can and cannot do over the spring and summer months. (Credit: iStock/Getty Images - image credit)

Sports associations are still waiting on word from the Saskatchewan government about what their spring and summer seasons will look like.

"We're all making plans to make sports happen," said Bob Reindl, executive of Saskatchewan Athletics, which governs track and field, cross country, road running and race walking in the province. But ultimately, competition all depends on Saskatchewan's COVID-19 situation.

Saskatchewan public health officials reported 321 new cases of COVID-19 Sunday, over half of which were identified in the Saskatoon and Regina zones. There are now 2,504 known active cases throughout the province.

There are 199 people in hospital due to the illness, including 46 patients in intensive care. The death of one more person in their 60s from COVID-19 was reported Sunday.

Registrations high

Saskatchewan Athletics is planning on holding events around June, said Reindl, but that depends on when word comes from the provincial government about what's allowed for sports. So athletes are training with their coaches, per the health restrictions, in the meantime.

The Prince Albert Minor Baseball Association is planning as though they'll get the green light, said president Duane Krip.

Registration is going as normal and the association will select teams in the coming weeks as if the season would start in the first week of May as usual, said Krip.

"Our registration numbers are as high as they've ever been," he said, citing they are up to 2019 levels after dipping in 2020 due to the pandemic.

The baseball season was postponed last year until July 2020, then it ran until the end of August. To Krip's knowledge, there were no COVID-19 cases linked to baseball at all during the summer.

"We're hoping [the Saskatchewan government] will give the same considerations this summer," he said, but apparently leagues have been waiting for a few weeks to hear about the plan for summer sports.

At this point, Prince Albert Minor Baseball could move ahead with a season starting the first week of May, regardless of when the province provides information, Krip said. But no moves will be made until the league receives a confirmation letter from Baseball Saskatchewan, which oversees baseball across the province, giving them the thumbs-up.

Current public health orders

A new public health order was issued April 7. Among other things, it prohibits team sports, but people 18 years old or younger can still keep conditioning and practice their skills in groups up to eight people as long as three metres of distance is maintained at all times, the health order says.

If indoors, masks must be worn during training unless training in a pool. Leagues, tournaments and competitions are only permitted under Saskatchewan's reopening plan, the health order says.

There are specific rules for the Regina area, however, as it is the province's COVID-19 hotspot with 1,044 known active cases as of Sunday.

The public health order states that all indoor public gatherings are prohibited in the Queen City. There are some exceptions, but sports facilities are not one of them.

Outdoor gatherings, both private and public, can have up to 10 people and attendees must maintain at least two metres of distance between people from a different household, the order says.

Professional curlers, players in the Western Hockey League and athletes 19 or older training for the Tokyo Olympics in July are exempt.

The current public health order expires April 26.