As we return to the sports and recreation activities we love, it’s important to do so safely. The Province of BC has some restrictions in place that impact sports, exercise, and fitness activities.
We’ve put together a list of what you need to know to encourage safe participation in sports and tips on how to prevent injuries among your teammates and athletes. For more details, visit viaSport’s website.
- Adult indoor individual, group fitness/exercise activities, and adult dance classes are allowed with increased safety protocols and capacity limits. Fitness and exercise facilities must follow this COVID-19 Guidance (PDF).1
- Tournaments are not currently allowed for adults 22 and older.1
- Traveling to other provinces or countries for sport is not recommended.1
- Masks are required indoors when not actively participating in a sport.1
- Proof of vaccination is required for spectators (12+) and adult participants at indoor sporting events.1
- Non-employee supervisors, coaches, and assistants of indoor sports and group activities for people 21 years or younger must also be fully vaccinated.1
- Remember to continue to follow the measures put in place by Dr. Bonnie Henry, Provincial Health Officer (PHO).
- If an injury occurs while playing sports, precautionary safety measures should be implemented. If greater treatment is required, emergency departments have implemented safety measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Q: What are the current rules for participating in sports in BC?
A: ViaSport has a FAQ Document (PDF) that includes Q&As for return-to-sport topics such as vaccination requirements, permitted activities, maximum group sizes, travel, and more. The Return to Sport Restart 2.0 (PDF) document also outlines current PHO guidance.
Q: Who is creating guidelines for return to sport?
A: As per the request of the Premier and the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, viaSport worked with the sport sector to create guidelines for the resumption of sport, which have been reviewed by government officials and WorkSafeBC. Provincial Sports organizations (e.g., BC Hockey, BC Soccer, etc.) will then use these guidelines to develop sport-specific plans for clubs to implement. Public health orders implemented by the Provincial Health Officer also provide guidance for safe sport participation.
Q: Is returning to sport risky for my health?
A: Sport organizations within the province have developed sport-specific return to play plans that follow all guidelines set out by the Provincial Health Officer, in order to ensure the health and safety of British Columbians. However, it is the responsibility of each individual to understand their personal risk when choosing to participate. Safe physical activity is encouraged, as it is important for maintaining good overall health. Physical activity can help improve mental health, weight management, bone and muscle strength, as well as reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.4
Q: I have taken time off from sports. What is my risk of injury?
A: There is strong evidence that athletes can experience a “de-training” effect that reverses the gains from training if they do not maintain training levels.5 Resuming play at pre-COVID-19 levels too quickly can put you at risk for injury.
Upon resumption of play, proper warm-ups and cool-downs can help prevent injury.6 An eased-in approach may be beneficial after a hiatus from sport, and can help avoid overexertion, which can lead to injury. It is important for coaches, trainers, and parents to ensure a safe and gradual return to sport for athletes.
To prevent injury, it is important for sport participants to continue to follow their sport organization’s guidelines and policies, including the use of protective equipment and injury prevention recommendations.
Q: How can I stay active without increasing my interactions with others?
A: Individual or family activities are great ways to stay physically active, while reducing interactions with others. Examples of such activities include:
- At-home basketball
- Playing pass (e.g., frisbee, baseball, soccer, etc.)
- Jumping rope
- Fitness exercises (e.g., push-ups, squats, etc.)
Q: How will I receive treatment if injured while playing sports?
A: In the event of a serious injury, the injured athlete should be transported by car or ambulance to the emergency department, where infection control measures are in place.
- Government of British Columbia. Provincial and regional restrictions. Available at: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/covid-19/info/restrictions. (Accessed: January 7, 2022)
- viaSport British Columbia. Return to sport guidelines for BC. (2020).
- viaSport British Columbia. Return to sport restart 2.0. Available at: https://www.viasport.ca/sites/default/files/Return_to_Sport_Restart_2.0_Chart_Jan5-22.pdf. (Accessed: 10 Jan 2021)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Benefits of Physical Activity. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/pa-health/index.htm. (Accessed: 22nd June 2020)
- Sousa AC, Neiva HP, et al. Concurrent Training and Detraining: brief Review on the Effect of Exercise Intensities. Int J Sports Med2019; 40(12): 747-755. https://www.thieme-connect.com/products/ejournals/html/10.1055/a-0975-9471(Accessed: 23 June 2020)
- American Heart Association. Warm up, cool down. (2014).