Recreational sports leagues get go-ahead for play this summer: province

Break out the balls and gloves, get out the tennis racquets and pick up that basketball. Manitoba officials have given the go-ahead for some recreational sports.

Most sporting activities were prohibited by provincial health orders during phase one of the Manitoba’s COVID-19 reopening plan. When Manitoba entered phase two of the plan June 1, sports were back on the table - albeit with some restrictions.

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“We’ve been able to put ourselves in a position where we’re seeing minimal activity of this virus right now,” said Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba chief provincial health officer.

“You see in our guidelines we certainly acknowledge we can’t maintain a two metre physical separation while we’re playing these sports. We can certainly limit the crowd sizes, we can limit and ensure there’s physical distancing for people that are not participating.”

Roussin stressed the importance of continuing to follow anti-COVID-19 fundamentals if participating in sports - distance when you can, wash or sanitize frequently and stay home if you’re sick.

“While participating it’s right back to the basics we always talk about,” Roussin said.

“There can’t be anyone showing up to those games that’s ill. There has to be a very good screening process, because we can’t have people playing in those conditions. There has to be sanitation, a lot of hand sanitizing.”

The province has released guidelines on how leagues can safely resume play, with recommendations on how to manage the risk. The guidelines can be found at gov.mb.ca/covid19/restoring/sports-guidelines.

One of the leagues in Flin Flon planning a return to play is slo-pitch.

Allie Higgins, president of Flin Flon/Creighton Slo-pitch, said the City of Flin Flon has given permission to use Centoba Park for league play. The league is aiming for a June 15 start date, pending approval of their plan.

“All players must sign a waiver with Slo-Pitch National (SPN) before they will play,” she said.

“There will be an additional clause to include COVID-19 and that players will be playing at their own risk.”

Roussin said a return of recreation, with restrictions, is part of the “new normal” during a pandemic.

“We’re not going to see in the foreseeable future when we don’t have to deal with this virus,” he said.

“We need to find ways we can live with this virus. We have to return to some kind of normalcy.”

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