Stage 3 - Reopening Sport and Recreation Clarification
The Ontario Recreation Facilities Association (ORFA) continues to monitor the most recent developments surrounding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the resulting public health crisis and how it affects recreation facility re-entry and reopening.
The Government of Ontario announced on July 13th its plan for Stage 3 of the re-opening of the economy, which commenced on Friday, July 17, 2020. This positive announcement raised numerous questions within the recreation facilities sector and has required on-going dialogue to source clarification on some of the key elements.
1. Clarity is required with respect to how the indoor limit of 50 is applied in a multi-use facility setting? (pool, arena, gym, meetings rooms, etc.)
An entire complex – for example, an ice complex, with three or four rinks – is considered one facility.
The total number of members of the public permitted to be at the facility in a class, organized program or organized activity at any one time is limited to:
Up 50 members of the public are also permitted to be at the facility in areas containing weights or exercise machines, provided a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person in the facility can be maintained (refer to Q2.)
The number of people does not include the staff who are required to operate the facility. While conducting activities within the facility, persons must abide by the physical distancing requirements as set out in the orders.
Up to 50 spectators can also be in the facility provided a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person in the facility can be maintained . The number of rinks or rooms does not have an impact.
Refer to: Regulation 364/20: https://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/r20364
2. Do indoor gym facilities have a similar allowance?
An indoor gym facility can have a maximum of 50 patrons in the area of the gym containing weight or exercise machines and up to 50 additional patrons in fitness classes (indoor), provided that physical distancing can be maintained. That is no more than 100 people in total, subject to maintaining 2m physical distance. It can have up to 50 people in the gym area containing weight areas of the gym containing weights or exercise machines, if 2m physical distancing can be maintained. It can also have another 50 (in total) in sports and recreational fitness classes, organized programs or organized activities (at the same facility), if a physical distance of 2 metres can be maintained.
3. Is 50 the building max, or can pods of 50 be created in each area of the building. If so, what other considerations must be implemented (ie. Ingress/egress, washrooms, etc.)
Please see answer to Q1. For businesses and sectors that are either not able to reopen in Stage 3, or who are experiencing significant challenges opening with restrictions in Stage 3, you have the option of submitting a reopening plan through an online process: https://www.ontario.ca/form/work-government-stage-3-reopening-plan. This is extremely important for multi-use facilities who feel they have significant mitigation strategies to warrant not being considered a single facility.
4. Confirmation that 50 does NOT include staff. What about volunteers?
The number of people does not include the staff who are required to operate the facility. While conducting activities within the facility persons must abide by the physical distancing requirements as set out in the orders that is applicable to the Stage in which that community is operating. It would be reasonable to consider volunteers as staff in the count as long as viewed as an employee by the facility owner.
5. Is there an exemption process for municipalities? The government web page makes reference to business.
For businesses and sectors that are either not able to reopen in Stage 3, or who are experiencing significant challenges opening with restrictions in Stage 3, there is the option of submitting a reopening plan through an online process: https://www.ontario.ca/form/work-government-stage-3-reopening-plan. Anyone including municipalities may submit a reopening plan through this process.
6. Is there a better definition of “cleaning is required as frequently as necessary”.
Any equipment that is rented to, provided to, or provided for the use of users of the facility must be cleaned and disinfected between each use or, where used in a game or practice, at the end of play, such as at the completion of a game or practice.
Activities must not be practiced or played within the facility if they require the use of fixed structures that cannot be cleaned and disinfected between each use or, where used in a game or practice, at the end of play.
7. What are facility requirements for contact tracing?
The regulation does not reference contact tracing. But it is good due diligence to have a point of contact for building component group rentals or individual users entering a building in the event that public health follow up becomes necessary.
8. League bubbles of 50, or sport cohort of 50 – what if participant(s) are in multiple leagues/bubbles?
An individual can play in more than one league at the same time.
Organized team sports played by players in a league may only be practiced or played within a facility if the league either:
9. What is “no sustained contact in a contact team sport”?
This language is not in Regulation 364/20. Team sports may only be practiced or played within the facility if they do not allow for physical contact between players or if they have been modified to avoid physical contact between the players.
10. Any insight on when registration is going to open for Minor Hockey Association?
Organizations like minor hockey associations are independent and make their own decisions regarding registration timelines. For insight on this you will need to contact them directly.
11. Are other recreation events subject to public gathering limits?
Yes, capacity for recreational events is subject to public gathering limits. For regions in Stage 3, social gatherings limits are 50 people indoors or 100 people outdoors. Events and attractions must also operate in accordance with all applicable laws and bylaws, and in compliance with the advice, recommendations and instructions of public health officials, including any related to physical distancing, cleaning or disinfection.