British Columbians have much to be proud about with their handling of the Covid-19 Pandemic. As of today there are 183 known active cases of COVID-19 in the province with only 13 individuals hospitalized with the illness. Better yet there are regions of the Province, like Vancouver Island, without a single known active case.
Against this backdrop the BC Athletic Commissioner is moving cautiously to resuming combative sports.
Today Kelly Gilday, BC’s Commissioner, released “BC’s Restart Plan“.
In short there will not be any events until at least September 1. At that time events will likely need to proceed without an audience (a reality that will be difficult for most promoters who rely on a live gate for financial viability). The document notes that “BC will not have live audiences until we have reached Phase 4 of the Restart Plan“.
The office will also require promoters to create a Covid 19 Safety Plan over and above the normal requirements of a Security Plan, Medical plan and Insurance Policy and Performance Bond.
The full announcement reads as follows:
BC’s Restart Plan – Combat Sports
As we look towards Phase 3 of BC’s Restart Plan, we are starting to see the re-opening of schools, businesses such as hotels, and when the Provincial Health Officer gives the signal, we will see some sections of the film industry and select entertainment operations start again as well.
The enhanced safety protocols and planning undertaken by these businesses and facilities to reopen is extensive but essential in limiting the spread of the Covid 19 virus.
The same requirements for enhanced safety planning and protocol development will be a necessary part of the restart process for Combat Sports in the province.
To understand the complexity of planning of non audience events, one can look at the processes already undertaken in the US to facilitate the return of combat sports. The California and Nevada State Athletic Commissions, along with World Sports Organizations; WBA and WBC, and the UFC have developed policies and protocols for planning events. These protocols and policies can be looked at as a resource to what may be expected in the planning process for similar events in BC.
As we move closer to the re-start of Combat Sports, the Office of the Athletic Commission will cautiously start to look at event permits that have completed the adequate planning and preparation required to address the public health and safety concerns. It will continue to be the promoter’s responsibility to develop the plans and protocols specific to their event. Any business, including event promotion, that wants to open in B.C. must have a Covid 19 Safety Plan as is required by a May 14th Public Health Officer Order. This is in addition to the current Security Plan, Medical plan and Insurance Policy and Performance Bond requirements.
Future combat sports events in BC will not have live audiences until we have reached Phase 4 of the Restart Plan, and at this point there is no set timeline for Phase 4 to begin. Events without an audience can be considered but will require the same level of extensive planning and preparation to meet the expectations of the PHO, WorkSafe BC and the BC Athletic Commission before an event permit will be considered.
The Office of the Athletic Commissioner does not have the authority to reduce or exempt anyone from the quarantine or travel restrictions currently put in place by the federal government, and testing of competitors, coaches, staff, and officials may be required.
All event permits that had been issued prior to the Covid 19 Pandemic have been cancelled for the safety of the general public. The Office of the British Columbia Athletic Commissioner is committed to following the lead of the BC Public Health Officer and WorkSafe BC to ensure the safety of all involved and a healthy return of Combat Sports.
Kelly Gilday Kelly Gilday BC Athletic Commissioner