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‘Pare it down’: Provincial health officer stresses caution for sports athletes, fans

B.C.’s provincial health officer is asking you to exercise caution when it comes to sporting activities.

Dr. Bonnie Henry says while physical activity is important to our overall health and well-being during the pandemic, it’s equally important to stay active, safely.

“As recreational sports like hockey and youth soccer return, we have seen an increase in COVID-19 exposures,” Dr. Henry said. 

“In some cases, sport facilities have been closed.”

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Leagues including the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League have started up with few or no fans in the stands.

She is urging athletes to pick only one sport to help limit the spread of the virus.

“Don’t pick multiple leagues,” she said. “If your children are involved in activities after school, pare it down so that they are not exposed to large numbers of different groups of people at different days.”

Henry pointed out that provincial sports organizations and sports facilities require COVID-19 safety plans to ensure a safe return. 

“Similar to the approach in the recent NHL playoffs, the plans have prioritized the players over the spectators, with restrictions in place in arenas and on the sidelines,” she added.

“We have to remember that spending time socializing or cheering with other parents and fans before, during and after games, increases the risk of transmission and exposure for you and your family.

“As much as we want to see the winning goal or celebrate the perfect pass after the game, we need to ensure we are keeping ourselves and our loved ones safe by always following our COVID-19 safety basics.”

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