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B.C. takes steps to return amateur sports

B.C. residents will now be allowed to get back out to play sports, as the provincial government takes action to protect amateur sports organizations from COVID-19 liabilities, with some conditions.

The actions being taken rely on organizations complying with public health orders, such as sanitation and physical distancing. The province said that its ministerial order will protect employees, volunteers and the organizations from liability.

“We want to make sure children and their families can get the benefits of physical activity and get back to playing the sports they love,” said Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture. “Many sports organizations are run by volunteers who need to make sure they are protected for risks related to COVID-19. This order will help cover that risk so people can safely get back to playing sports sooner in their communities.”

According to the province, most insurance companies are not providing any coverage for COVID-19 related damages, causing many amateur sports to stop programming amid the pandemic.

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The order will keep the organizations and their representatives safe from damages resulting directly or indirectly from COVID-19.

“For example, a sports organization or its representatives will not be liable for a participant in their sports program being exposed to COVID-19 as a result of participation. That liability protection would be in place as long as they follow applicable guidance, such as viaSport’s Return to Sport protocols and public-health guidance on how to prevent the spread of the virus. This guidance includes encouraging proper handwashing, regular disinfecting, limiting shared equipment, physical distancing measures and the use of wellness questionnaires and health self-assessment tools,” explained the B.C. government.

The order will allow organizations more freedom to allow teams to hit the field, play as a team, and get exercise.

“We are thrilled that sport is making its return in the province. Today’s announcement is welcome news for our partners in the amateur sport sector,” said Charlene Krepiakevich, CEO of viaSport. “This coordinated response to address concerns around volunteer and staff liability means that these not-for-profit organizations can focus on delivering safe, high-quality sport experiences for the people in their communities.”

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