Preparing to Return to Sport and Activity - A Guide
New information is being communicated daily from all levels of governments, while national and provincial sport associations are preparing safety guidelines and sport adaptations in order to be prepared for the relaunch.
Once governing bodies give the go-ahead for community sport to return to sport and activity, local-sport organizations will need to be prepared to work with the changes and have a strong communication plan ready for their membership.
Alberta’s Relaunch Strategy puts safety first while gradually reopening businesses, resuming activities, and getting people back to work - and back to participating in sport, physical activity, and active recreation (SPAR).
While organized SPAR is not currently possible, with the weather warming up, there are many outdoor activities Albertans can do safely while still following all public health orders and legislation and the Government of Alberta guidance.
(Updated July 1, 2020): The outdoor gathering limit has been increased from 100 to 200 people.
(Updated June 12, 2020): With the release of the Factsheets and guidelines found on BizConnect, the Alberta government will not be approving return-to-play plans. Each organization is encouraged to review and incorporate public health guidance into their activity-specific plans and then follow these guidelines in their plan’s implementation. Organized activities sanctioned by, or affiliated with, a provincial or national organization should also ensure compliance with their governing body’s guidelines, assuming they meet or exceed provincial requirements.
The Alberta government recognizes that each sport, physical activity, and recreation activity has unique considerations. That is why Alberta Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women and Alberta Health, is working with the sector to better inform sector stakeholders on the scope and function of the safety component in return-to-play as we move through the stages of the relaunch strategy. Alberta Health continues to monitor published jurisdictional guidance on sport, physical activity and recreation as well as the impacts other jurisdictions are experiencing as they relaunch these types of activities.
(Updated June 9, 2020): Stage 2 of the relaunch is beginning Friday, June 12. Go to BizConnect to access Stage 2 Guidance Documents including Return to Sport, Physical Activity and Recreation - Stage 2, Guidance for Indoor Recreation Entertainment, Guidance for Outdoor Recreation, Guidance for Day Camps, and Guidance for Outdoor Events.
(Updated June 9, 2020): Alberta Nonprofit Network (ABNN) COVID-19 Resources for Nonprofits page has a growing number of sport, physical activity, and recreation relevant resources.
(Updated June 8, 2020): The Province of Alberta is committing funding to eligible businesses and non-profits to access up to $5,000 to offset a portion of their relaunch costs. These funds can be used for implementing measures to minimize the risk of virus transmission such as physical barriers, personal protective equipment, and disinfecting supplies. The program application is expected to be available in the coming weeks.
(Updated May 29, 2020) Guidance for organized outdoor sport, physical activity, and recreation It is recommended every organization develop a written plan to prevent transmission of COVID-19. A template is under development by the Province of Alberta.
Golf and outdoor shooting ranges have re-opened with conditions.
After evaluating the provincial guidelines for stage one the City of Lethbridge has approved the opening of the following: as of May 14, 2020.
- Playgrounds & outdoor fitness equipment (updated May 28, 2020)
- Disc Golf at Nicholas Sheran Park
- Tennis Club at Henderson
- Skate Parks across the city
- Mountain Bike Park in the river valley
- Horseshoe Pits across the city
- Lawn Bowling at Ted Petrunia Park and Bocce at Redwood Park
- Other outdoor courts (for recreational use only) including:
- Unfenced sports fields (Updated: May 23, 2020)
It is important that residents understand that these amenities can only be used if participants can properly follow the provincial public health orders. This includes:
- No groups larger than 50 (Updated: May 23, 2020)
- Physical distancing of at least 2 metres at all times from anyone outside of your household
- Washing/sanitizing your hands well and often
The Lethbridge Region Economic Recovery Task Force website includes a Lethbridge & Region Supplier List. (Updated: May 27, 2020)
Summer Camps with limits on occupancy are permitted within Stage 1 of Alberta's relaunch strategy. Those considering outdoor SPAR summer camps should follow Alberta Health Services Health and Safety Guidelines for Child Care Centres.
For all who are beginning to consider relaunching you must be knowledgeable of and align to key Alberta Government COVID-19 information and resources and move forward knowing that operational standards for businesses also apply to not-for-profit organizations. As a first step in developing your re-launch strategy, it is recommended that you review:
- Opening soon: Alberta's relaunch strategy
- Guidance for businesses (no longer available)
- Alberta Biz Connect
- Canadian Sport for Life LTAD Pamphlet
- Your sport's Long-Term Athlete Development model
- City of Lethbridge COVID-19 Page
Refer to your sport governing body for their COVID-19 return to sport guidelines and timelines such as Skate Canada Response: COVID-19 where you can find the Return to Skating Guidelines.
Rather than starting from scratch, consider building your re-launch strategy upon good ideas and best practices being implemented in other jurisdictions, including:
- How will youth sports return to play? USOPC offers first glimpse
- Aspen Institute today Return to Play guide
- Canoe Kayak Canada Guidelines
- The Australian Institute of Sport Framework for Rebooting Sport - Summary
- The Australian Institute of Sport Framework for Rebooting Sport in a COVID-19 Environment
- New Zealand COVID-19 Alert Levels Summary
- Sport New Zealand sport & recreation activities at Alert Levels 1 - 4 - no longer available
- Sport New Zealand Play, active recreation and sport at Alert Levels 4 & 3 - no longer available
- Sport New Zealand Play, active recreation and sport at Alert Level 2 - no longer available
In a town-hall telephone call on Monday, May 4th involving Premier Jason Kenny, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the Hon. Leela Aheer and other Ministers, it was clearly communicated that relaunch strategies are to be developed by the senior coordinating / accreditation body for consideration by the Alberta Government. For example, Tennis Canada has issued tips and recommendations for players and club administrators, coaches, and anyone organizing tennis activities. These tips and recommendations have then been built upon by Tennis Alberta who is submitting its relaunch strategy to the Alberta Government.
Therefore, for example, all hockey organizations in Alberta should be following the return to play guidelines developed by Hockey Alberta (or Hockey Canada if a national return to play strategy is developed) - after having been shared with the Alberta Government. It is further suggested that organizations that offer multiple activities follow the return to play guidelines as developed by the recognized coordinating/recognized accreditation body for each activity offered.
It was also identified in the town hall meeting, that when return to play guidelines are developed, a large facility/space may enable the physical separation of several participant groups, Lastly, it was suggested that the Alberta Government could help source Personal Protection Equipment for service providers, but would not be financially responsible for such equipment.
As whenever an organization changes its mandate, program design or content, they are encouraged to consult with their insurance broker and a lawyer to review participant waivers and assumption of risk forms for minors.
Adapted from the Edmonton Sport Council
Posted June 12, 2020