COVID-19 UPDATE FROM NEZ SPORTS COUNCIL – March 4, 2021

Update from Hockey Edmonton – March 4

Hockey Edmonton has reminded us all that with rinks opened we have to follow ALL Covid protocols mandated by the Province, AHS, the City and Hockey Edmonton.

The City of Edmonton has declared that mask exemption cards are no longer valid. Hockey Edmonton has taken the position that regardless if you have a card or not, everyone needs to be masked at all times when attending a Hockey Edmonton sanctioned event. If you choose not to wear a mask, you are not permitted to attend the event. Everyone must be masked while in an arena. Players are the only ones allowed to remove their masks when they are on the ice. Coaches must have a mask properly in place at ALL times. The mask must cover the nose and mouth.

The AHS and Government announcement regarding Step 2 is not what we had hoped. Hopefully if we all continue to follow the guidelines and rules parents will soon be able to watch their kids on the ice. Right now…..another waiting game. Stay well.

NEZ Hockey continues to hope that our players will get back on the ice sometime this 2020-2021 season. Below is the latest update from Hockey Edmonton. And again we wait….

 Government Relations 

  • • We share our members disappointment and frustration being left out of the provincial government’s Step 1 in the easing of COVID-19 health restrictions 
  • • We now have to wait longer once again to return to the ice even though players in each of our neighbouring provinces are allowed on the ice 
  • • When our players were allowed to play, we effectively managed the risk as our members adhered to strict health guidelines 
  • • Our members have told us hockey is needed at this time more than ever for their children’s physical and mental well-being 
  • • We have worked hard raising our members’ concerns, lobbying the provincial government since November 
  • • Hockey Alberta has regular meetings with Alberta Health; Hockey Edmonton wrote the province and has had regular communication with health officials 
  • • Hockey Alberta and Hockey Edmonton proposed Return to Play plans to the province, including various measures that could be taken to enhance safety 
  • • We have always maintained the health and safety of all Albertans is everyone’s number one priority 
  • • We respect the provincial health leaders’ expertise and have shared their messages 
  • • We thank our hockey family for the ongoing understanding and support 

Return to Play 

  • • We are in the Step 2 of the government’s health measures plan, which means the earliest date we could return to play is March 1 
  • • We need the COVID-19 numbers to continue their downward trend in order to realize that date 
  • • We will meet with Hockey Alberta this week; we expect an announcement to end minor hockey league play across the province for the 2020-2021; Minor Hockey Week will also be cancelled 
  • • This would not mean hockey is over 
  • • We have hockey activities ready to launch should health restrictions be eased March 1 
  • • Those health restrictions will shape the on-ice activities 
  • • We would expect a start would include physically distanced practice with a limited number of people on the ice 
  • • If we receive permission, Hockey Edmonton would plan this portion of play not to go beyond April 30 
  • • We are looking to secure enough ice to accommodate our inter-lock partners who may no longer have ice in their home communities 
  • • The vast majority of our members have asked for this type of plan – they want their kids to play 
  • • Many members have also expressed an interest in extending play into May and June, health conditions permitting 
  • • We are planning opt-in hockey development programming for that time 
  • • This programming might include skill development sessions and/or 3v3 hockey 

Hockey Fees 

  • • We know our members are anxious to find out about their fees 
  • • There will be refunds – we just can’t say for how much yet 
  • • We are waiting to hear from Hockey Canada and Hockey Alberta as to how much of a reduction will be in their fees 
  • • We also must wait to see how much hockey we can deliver in this short season, including what is left 
  • • Once we have all that information, we will send refunds to the Operating Areas 
  • • Costs and refunds will differ from program to program due to their different structures and how much ice time they’ve seen this season 
  • • All these bodies have fixed operating costs that need to be considered 
  • • We want to be fair but we also need to consider the future financial stability of these organizations so we can continue to operate in the future 

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As most of you are aware Alberta Health and the Government of Alberta have mandated many closures to help stop the continued upward climb of Covid case numbers. The closures include all arenas and indoor training including one-on-one training with a coach or instructor. Unfortunately we have no answers…..only hopes.

Our hope is that arenas will reopen in January and our hockey programs will resume. Hockey Edmonton continues to plan for a resumption of play. Will the season go into April or even May? Will there be ice available if we want to play past March? Lots of questions still need to be answered. So for now we wait and see.

Our hope is to open spring ball registrations early in the New Year. We hope that we will be have full baseball and softball programs in 2021. We are planning for a full season. Will we have one? Once again we wait and see.

Our biggest hope is that you and your family and friends stay safe and healthy and that Covid-19 becomes a thing of the past in 2021. Merry Christmas to all. We’ll see you at an arena or on a ball field in the New Year.

Update (December 8)

The Alberta government has declared that the current situation is critical. The following mandatory restrictions affecting sport and recreation apply province-wide and will be in place at least until January 12, 2021.

All indoor recreation facilities must close effective December 13, including:

  • Gyms and studios
  • Fitness and recreation centres
  • Spas, pools, indoor rinks and arenas
  • Day and overnight camps
  • Community halls and centres

Outdoor recreation is permitted, but facilities with indoor spaces except for washrooms will be closed.

Group physical activities, including team sports, fitness classes and training sessions, are prohibited or restricted across Alberta effective December 13:

  • Outdoor group physical activity, including team sports, must be limited to 10 people or fewer.
    • members of different households must maintain 2 metre distancing at all times
  • Indoor group physical activities are prohibited unless
    • the group only involves members of the same household.
    • the activity involves students at a school or post-secondary institution as part of an education program
    • the activity involves students at a post-secondary institution
  • One-to-one indoor training, such as training with a fitness trainer or coach, is not permitted.

Unfortunately the Covid news continues to bring many challenges to our sports programs.  In mid-November Alberta Health, the Government of Alberta and the City of Edmonton brought in some rules that effectively shut down our hockey programs until November 27.  

Earlier this week to help stem the tide of Covid cases, the Province announced further closures to group sport programs until at least December 18.  Yesterday the City of Edmonton announced that all Edmonton arenas will be closed until at least that date.

Hockey Edmonton is trying to reschedule as much missed time as possible.  Please view their announcement below.  Also below is the lastest news from the City of Edmonton.

From Hockey Edmonton on November 26, 2020:

Good afternoon,

We want to ensure every Albertan’s health is our #1 priority so we’re warning all our teams to play by the rules during this shutdown: no team activities on ice or off ice, inside or outside.

The warning, one on one training, exemptions and a longer season are all discussed in this Covid-19 update:

http://www.hockeyedmonton.ca/article/62746

Please circulate and post on your websites!

Questions can be directed to the office.

Steve Hogle

General Manager

Hockey Edmonton

From The City Of Edmonton on November 27, 2020

Good evening Sport Partners,

This week, Premier Jason Kenney announced a new set of targeted restrictions for Edmonton and surrounding communities that impact operations at the City of Edmonton. Today, the Mayor and Acting City Manager announced a number of measures that the City is taking to curb the spread of COVID-19 in our community. Visit www.edmonton.ca/covid-19 for regular updates.

As valued partners in the delivering of recreational services in our community, we want to make sure you were aware of these actions:

  • Facility closures
    • With the limitations on sport, virtually all booking in arenas are cancelled and as a result, we have made the decision to close all 22 arenas from December 1 to 18.  
    • St FX Sports Centre will close until at least December 18. 
    • Northgate Lions, Central Lions and Mill Woods Seniors Centres will close until at least December 18. 
    • The Orange Hub will close to the public but tenants will continue to have access for their activities provided they comply within the provincial restrictions.
  • Operate facilities and programs within restrictions
    • The Government of Alberta now requires that indoor spaces be limited to 25 per cent of their fire code capacity limits. We are ensuring that fitness centres, aquatics centres, the Prince of Wales Armouries and City Archives, park pavilions and the Edmonton Valley Zoo adhere to this new rule.
    • Group fitness and performing arts programs were cancelled on Nov. 13 as a result of the Provincial Order issued at that time. Today we have cancelled all remaining group programs and activities in our facilities. 
    • Gymnasium use will continue with no group activities, but one-on-one court sports will be permitted i.e. singles badminton. (a group being defined as 3 or more)
    • Aquatic centres will remain open for lane swim and 1:1 swim lessons.
    • Effective December 1, the City will be refusing entry to City recreation facilities  and the Edmonton Valley Zoo for individuals who choose not to wear a face covering, regardless of the individual’s exemption status. Face coverings can still be removed while exercising once in the designated areas but you are required to wear a mask when moving between pieces of equipment within fitness centres. Face coverings cannot be worn in pools.
    • Face coverings are required while accessing park pavilions. Individuals using parks are encouraged to use their car for changing and putting on any winter equipment (skates, skis, etc.).
    • We are offering some programs virtually and will look to continue expanding those opportunities for Edmontonians.
    • We will continue to offer Edmontonians the opportunities to take part in individual  outdoor activities and, as always, ensuring everyone maintains physical distance and adhering to all public health measures.

These current measures are anticipated to be in place for three weeks. We will continue to monitor and adapt to the changing conditions and will continue to keep you informed.

We appreciate your efforts to ensure the safety of Edmontonians and would encourage you to connect with your Sport Partner Liaison if you have questions.


Respectfully 

Jill Gillis

Jill Gillis 

SUPERVISOR, SPORT PARTNERSHIPS

CITIZEN SERVICES  |  COMMUNITY AND RECREATION FACILITIES

Updated November 27, 2020

Effective Tuesday, December 1, the City will shut down 22 City-operated arenas until December 18. The Downtown Community Arena will remain open to support the provincial exemption granted to the IIHF World Junior Championship. Three City-run Senior Centres and the St. Francis Xavier Sports Centre will also close. All indoor events and group activities at City facilities will be cancelled.

On November 12, 2020 the Government of Alberta and Alberta Health have mandated a two-week halt to minor sports. For us this means no softball, baseball or hockey games, practices, clinics, training or other activity.

When we return to sport it will become more and more important that we follow all health guidelines. When possible dress at home for hockey, arrive at the arena no more that 30 minutes before your scheduled game or practice, a maximum of 1 parent per child in the dressing room and in the stands. DO NOT CONGREGATE IN THE ARENA LOBBIES. At the end of the game or practice, skates off and leave the arena. And remember that masks are mandatory in the arena and in the dressing rooms.

Ban on indoor group fitness classes & team sports (Nov 13-27)

These activities can have a high risk of spread due to exertion of participants, and often involve mixing and mingling before or after the class or activity.

Banned activités include:

group high-intensity activities, which are defined as an organized indoor activity consisting of 2 or more people to do high-intensity cardiovascular exercise – examples include spin, zumba, dance, hot yoga, cross fit

team sport activities such as practices, games and competitions that occur indoors and where 2 metre distancing is not maintained at all times – this also includes all youth team sports

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