Field Hockey Ontario is providing its members and clubs with the following update regarding the province of Ontario’s announcement yesterday as they impact sport and recreation.
On January 20th, 2022, the Government of Ontario announced that the province will gradually begin easing COVID-19 restrictions, provided public health indicators continue trending in a positive direction.
As of January 31st, 2022 at 12:01AM, indoor sports and recreational fitness facilities (ie. gymnasiums, indoor turfs, domes/bubbles, gyms, etc) will be permitted to re-open at 50% capacity. The 50% capacity limit will likely impact how many participants are permitted to be take part in programming in a given time, and will likely vary from venue to venue. Indoor spectator areas will also be permitted to allow up to 50% of usual seating capacity or 500 people, whichever is less. There are no changes to outdoor sports and recreational fitness facilities (open, limited to 50% spectator capacity). Local public health units and/or sports facilities may have additional measures in place – it is important the clubs are aware of any additional measures and adhere to all COVID-19 safety protocols. Regardless of indoor or outdoor facilities/programming, organizations must continue to have a COVID-19 safety plan implemented and visible for review, active screening of participants and spectators, record the name and contact information for all individuals entering the facility, and checking for proof-of-vaccination. A reminder, FHO is requiring all participants to be fully-vaccinated against COVID-19 (defined as having received 2 doses of Pfizer/Moderna/Astra-Zenca or a combo, or 1 dose of Johnson & Johnson, and 14-days post injection from the second dose).
These current measures are expected to be in place for a minimum of 21-days, subject to public health trends and health care indicators. The province is expected to lift capacity limits on February 21st, 2022 – however it is important to remember that the date of February 21st is not set in stone and may be pushed back further due to public health indicators. There is also a possibility that should public health indicators and/or health care indicators begin to trend negatively, that restrictions could be re-imposed that impact indoor sports programming.
While this is great news for the field hockey and sports community, it is important to remember to continue following all public health guidelines regarding infection prevention and staying home if you are unwell or experiencing any respiratory symptoms. Clubs may need to adapt programming in order to adhere to the 50% participant capacity and 50% spectator capacity limit that is in place. At this time, there is no indication if there are any sporting activities that are prohibited, such as games, leagues, or tournaments. Field Hockey Ontario will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and provide updates to its clubs and membership as they are available.