DEC 15 UPDATE: ALL GAMES CANCELLED WITHIN SDPHU AREA
RECEIVED FROM NOHA:
Public Health Sudbury & Districts has received a number of inquiries and proposals regarding modified playing rules from several hockey associations following the release of the Letter of Instruction issued on December 9, 2021.
We acknowledge the benefit that team sports has to the health and development of our youth and we look forward to a day when these requirements will no longer be necessary. However, under the Letter of Instruction, all facilities used for sports and recreational fitness activities must ensure that team sports or games are only practiced or played at the facility if the sport has been modified to avoid personal contact. Although the modified playing rules developed by leagues may reduce physical contact, they by no means create a playing environment where it is avoided. Close physical contact combined with forceful exertion greatly increases the risk of transmission of COVID-19. This combined with the highly transmissible variants of concern, and our very high local case rates, make the rule to avoid contact during play necessary.
There are some sports that may be able to be modified in a way that physical contact is avoided during game play based on the nature of the sport. However, hockey by the nature of the game is not one of those sports as contact cannot be reasonably avoided during game play. It would be exceptionally rare that games could be modified to the extent that they complied with the Letter of Instruction. There is opportunity to continue skill building activities or training which can be modified so that participants do not have personal contact with one another (for example, skating, passing, and scoring drills), these can proceed. A reminder that any practice or skill building activity must comply with the capacity limit at the facility. In addition, change rooms, washrooms and bathrooms have an occupancy limit based on two metres distance and cohorting to single teams is strongly recommended. Please also be mindful of other required COVID-19 safety measures such as masking for everyone not actively participating in the sport, proof of vaccination requirements, screening and contact tracing.
Jon Groulx C.P.H.I©
Manager – Health Protection Division