Prince Rupert Seamen Rugby Club practice on Sept. 3 after the sport league was permitted to re-start with COVID-19 restrictions. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)

Back to sport with COVID-19 restrictions

Prince Rupert Seamen Rugby club is first in province for back to sport training - Jason Scherr

Athletes throughout British Columbia will be able to engage in more organized sport activities and some competitive play as the Province moves to Phase 3 of the Return to Sport Guidelines, viaSport announced in a statement.

Prince Rupert and B.C. rugby is leading the way in the back-to-sport process, Jason Scherr, board of director of Prince Rupert Seamen Rugby Club said.

“Our club was just recently sanctioned to return to training following new guidelines and COVID protocols. We were the first club in B.C. sanctioned, possibly the first club in Canada,” Scherr said. “Also we were the first club in B.C. to start touch rugby again.We also have the most registered participants.”

“Sport across the globe has come to standstill. As far as the grass roots youth sports you have, there is a need to be safe. Rugby has been working hard to find ways to be safe and to engage and to meet the guidelines to reduce the risk,” Scherr said.

There are 72 funded sport organizations throughout B.C. and 4,100 local sport organizations with over 800,000 youth and adult participants.

viaSport said it released it’s Return to Sport Guidelines in June to support the amateur sport sector through careful and gradual restart of sports in B.C. communities. With Phase 3, each provincial sport organization can use the overarching guidelines to develop or revise its sport-specific plans. To date, 60 organizations have completed their return to play plans.

“Team play and friendly competition are at the heart of amateur sport,” Charlene Krepiakevich, chief executive officer, viaSport, said.

“Now, as we enter Phase 3, we will start to see more sport activities in communities around the province. While these guidelines offer key parameters for the increase in sport activity, each sport will advance at a different pace depending on community capacity and readiness,” Krepiakevich said.

In June 2020, viaSport released its Return to Sport Guidelines to support the amateur sport sector through the careful and gradual restarting of sports in B.C. communities. With Phase 3, each provincial sport organization can use the overarching guidelines to develop or revise its sport-specific plans. To date, 60 organizations have completed their return to play plans.

The BC Centre for Disease Control has reviewed viaSport’s Return to Sport Guidelines for Phase 3. The guidelines contain recommendations for how different types of sports now can progressively add activities back again while continuing to adhere to current public health recommendations. This new guidance addresses contact activities, cohorts, competitions, high-performance training environments and travel, viaSport said.

“I know athletes and their families have been missing the joy of competition these past few months,” Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture said.“viaSport has done a great job working with health officials and our amateur sport organizations to ensure we can safely and gradually return to game play. I encourage everyone players, parents, coaches and volunteers to continue to work together to make sure we can play and compete safely,” Beare said.

“We see having non-contact rugby as a great way to potentially grow the sport. Especially with the youth program, Scherr said.

“With the pandemic and the lack of contact rugby we are really hoping to use this opportunity with BC Rugby and Rugby Canada to engage those who want to come out and try the sport in a way that doesn’t include contact. (We want) to continue to fill the gap for those who want to play sport, who maybe can’t skate, or didn’t make the top five in the basketball team.”

“(Prince Rupert Seamen Rugby) will have to continue to adapt and follow the rules in front of us and to follow the guidelines as sport return to some sort of normalcy down the road,” Scherr said.

Training for rugby is on Thursday evenings at 6 p.m. and participants must pre-register.

K-J Millar | Journalist 
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Casey Lennon and Conar Harris members of the Prince Rupert Seamen Rugby Club, practice the game under new COVID-19 restrictions on Sept. 3. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)

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