ViaSport Greenlights Contact Training and Competition for Amateur Combat Sports in BC

Today ViaSport, the BC Government’s lead delivery agency for sports programs, released their latest Covid-19 Protection Return to Sport Guidelines for the Province.

Among the guidelines were permission for various combative sports to return to training with contact and even competition in Phase 3.

The amateur combat sports under ViaSport’s umbrella are boxing, judo, karate, taekwondo and wrestling. In a footnote listing these sports ViaSport notes that “This is not an exhaustive list of all sports. Sports not listed to select that grouping that most closely applies to them.”

In addressing combative sports these expanded guidelines note as follows:

Contact – Skills that require physical contact may be introduced in training environments but should remain within designated cohorts.

Cohort size – Cohorts may contain up to 10 people

Competition – may only occur within designated cohorts.

The following feedback is given with respect to “cohorts”

Sport Cohorts Purpose: Establishing cohorts will limit the number of people that each individual will come into contact with, reducing the risk of transmission and ensuring quicker contact tracing by health authorities if an outbreak occurs. A cohort is a group of participants who primarily interact with each other within the sport environment over an extended period of time (e.g. series of events).

In this phase:

• All guidance related to personal hygiene, cleaning protocols and symptom-screening still apply.

• Cohorts should be used for activities in which it is not possible to maintain two metres physical distancing at all times. When in a cohort, while individuals do not need to maintain physical distancing during sport specific activities, minimized physical contact is still advised.

• At least two metres distancing should be maintained between all participants when outside of the field of play (e.g. dressing rooms, hallways, team benches, staging areas, etc.). If physical distancing cannot be maintained masks should be worn. • Cohorts should be made up of individuals/teams of similar age or skill level.

• Each cohort can be comprised of multiple teams in order to form a mini-league. With the use of cohorts, game play can resume between teams within the cohort.

• Cohorts should not exceed the number outlined in Appendix H.

• Cohort sizes are different from maximum group sizes. When members of the cohort are gathering for games or activities, gatherings may not exceed 50 people (see PHO Order).

• Coaches may be counted outside the total cohort number if they are able to maintain physical distancing at all times.

• Keep players together in designated cohorts and make sure that cohorts avoid mixing with each other as much as possible.

• Cohorts should remain together for an extended period of time. If looking to change cohorts, implement a two-week break between activities.

• Individuals should limit the number of sport cohorts to which they belong in order to reduce the number of people they are interacting with.

• Where officials (if being used) are unable to physically distance, an official(s) should be assigned to a specific cohort and avoid having them interact with multiple cohorts.

• Parents and spectators are not included in the cohort limits. They should continue to maintain physical distancing at all times and are subject to maximum capacity of the facility where play is occurring.


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