Whitehorse Daily Star

Guidelines for the return to contact sports have been released

Guidelines for the return to contact sports were released Wednesday by Dr. Brendan Hanley, the Yukon’s chief medical officer of health.

By Chuck Tobin on August 28, 2020

Guidelines for the return to contact sports were released Wednesday by Dr. Brendan Hanley, the Yukon’s chief medical officer of health.

While the guidelines set out general principles, the city still needs to develop operational plans for the recreational facilities like the ice rinks, now that chief medical officer has released the guiding principles.

Whether – or how – the use of change rooms will be allowed, for instance, still needs to be finalized.

Jessica Apolloni, director of marketing for the Canada Games Centre, said they are hoping to have their operational plans in place by Sept. 8.

“Now that we have the information we are advancing our facility guidelines,” she said. “We are hoping to have them ready so that we can begin booking these facilities under the new guidelines on Sept. 8.”

Apolloni said change rooms will not be available inititally but they are hoping to have them available in October when Takhini Arena opens.

“We need to make sure we can accommodate everybody safely.”

Until then, the different sporting organizations will have to have their own enter and exit strategies for their athletes, she explained.

Apolloni said the ATCO ice surface is also scheduled to be ready Sept. 8. The Northwestel ice surface is already in.

City staff and community organizations have been working together effectively as the opening up plans have evolved, she said.

Fabian Glyka, president of the Yukon Soccer Association, said in an interview Thursday they are waiting to see what type of operational plans the city comes up with.

Bernie Adilman, president of the Whitehorse Oldtimers Hockey League, said they are still looking at the options available to get their players back on the ice.

The general guidelines for returning to contact sports say dressing rooms should be cleaned and disinfected after use, as should all equipment. Teams huddles need to be eliminated, and players should not shake hands at the end of the game.

Each player should have their own water bottle, with their names on it.

The chief medical health officer recommends leagues should consider creating mini-leagues with no more than 60 players in each mini-league to reduce the risk of potential widespread exposure. “Forming a mini-league decreases opportunities for players’ exposure to the virus, while allowing for increased interaction during games,” say the guidelines. “If someone does get sick, tracing close contacts becomes easier and the number of people who risk being exposed is lower.”

Leagues need to record the names of each participant and every game and keep the record for 21 days, should contact tracing be required.

The general guidelines recommend sports such as hockey, soccer, basketball, volleyball adopt the return-to-sport guidelines published by their national bodies.

Hockey Canada has produced a 41-page document outlining recommended measures that should be taken.

In one section pertaining to dressing rooms and other areas, it says:

• When public health authority protocol and facility guidelines allow use of dressing rooms, teams should have players appropriately physically distanced (using multiple dressing rooms could help).

• Dressing rooms should be cleaned and sanitized (all surfaces and fitness equipment) after each use.

• Hockey equipment, including sticks and pucks, should be cleaned after each practice and game.

• Hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes should be available as players enter and leave.

• Media interviews should be conducted outside the dressing room in a dedicated area with proper physical-distancing procedures.

• Access to the dressing room should be strictly monitored.

• Only team personnel, on-ice officials, medical staff and essential facility staff should have access.

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