November 8, 2022

These COVID articles are now outdated.  Please check your health authority for any protocols regarding COVID-19 and any other communicable diseases.

Update from the Ministry of Health, February 25th, 2022

The newest orders from the Ministry of Health lift restrictions on numbers in fitness centres and gyms.  

Safety requirements for exercise and fitness activities include:

  • Proof of vaccination required for entry (12+)
  • Masks required at all times, except when actively exercising. We strongly encourage people to wear a mask even when exercising

Sport activities

All sport activities are allowed, including:

  • Participating in an adult indoor sport or recreation program 
  • Participating or competing in individual sports like skiing, swimming or skating
  • Competing in regular league play for individual or team sport
  • Adult and youth sport tournaments

Safety requirements for sport activities include:

  • Masks required indoors when not actively participating in a sport
  • Proof of vaccination required for spectators (12+) and adult participants at indoor sporting events
  • Non-employee supervisors, coaches and assistants of indoor sports and group activities for people 21 years or younger must be fully vaccinated

Update from the Ministry of Health, January 19th, 2022

The newest orders from the PHO of BC allow a limited return to fitness and exercise.

Here is the excerpt from the update,

Exercise and fitness

Adult indoor individual, group fitness or exercise activities and adult dance classes and activities are allowed with increased safety protocols and capacity limits, including:

  • Capacity based on 7 square metres of floor space per person for both individual and group fitness and exercise classes
    • In addition to floor space, all group fitness and exercise classes have a capacity limit of 25 people
  • Masks worn at all times, except when actively exercising. We strongly encourage people wear a mask even when exercising
  • Pre-bookings for drop-in individual fitness where operationally possible
  • Scanning proof of vaccination QR codes for entry

Programs specifically for children and youth are allowed. 

Fitness and exercise facilities must follow Indoor Exercise, Fitness, and Dance Class Facility COVID-19 Guidance – January 19, 2022 (PDF, 383KB) [The document states that martial arts are not covered by this order, however it has useful information to assist dojo chos in determining what type of practice is safe at this time.]

As we noted in our 2020 Guidelines to Returning to Aikido practice in BC, the BCAF is not an authoritative body.  We provide this information to assist dojo chos in making their decisions about what constitutes safe practice in their dojo.



Update from the Ministry of Health, December 17th, 2021

Adult gyms, fitness centres, and dance studios closed for four weeks.

In addition to the new orders that the PHO announced last Friday (December 17th), today the rising COVID-19 numbers have led to additional orders for the next four weeks: December 22nd to January 18th, 2022.

"The provincial health officer is implementing additional measures to address rising COVID-19 case counts that could result in increased hospitalizations and critical care admissions and the potential to overstress the health-care system.

Revised provincial health officer orders will take effect on Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2021, at 11:59 p.m.

The restrictions will extend to Jan. 18, 2022, at 11:59 p.m., and include:

  • no organized indoor social events and gatherings of any size;
  • concerts, sports games and theatres reduced to 50% seated capacity, regardless of venue size;
  • closing gyms, fitness centres and dance studios;
  • closing bars and nightclubs; and
  • limiting table sizes at restaurants, cafes and pubs to a maximum of six people per table with physical distancing or barriers.

These restrictions are in addition to the revised orders that took effect on Monday, Dec. 20."

Proof of vaccination requirement

Update from the Ministry of Health, August 23rd, 2021

By order of the PHO, proof of vaccination will be required to access some events, services and businesses. Starting September 13, you must have at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. By October 24, you must be fully vaccinated.

The requirement applies to all people born in 2009 or earlier (12+) and covers:

  • Indoor ticketed concerts, theatre, dance, symphony and sporting events
  • Indoor and outdoor dining at restaurants, pubs and bars
  • Nightclubs and casinos 
  • Movie theatres 
  • Gyms, pools and recreation facilities 
    • Does not include youth recreational sport
  • Indoor high intensity group exercise 
  • Indoor organized gatherings like weddings, parties, conferences, meetings and workshops
  • Indoor organized group recreational classes and activities like pottery and art
    • Does not include K to 12 school and before and after school programs
  • Post-secondary on-campus student housing. Note: Students must be partially vaccinated by September 7

Events, businesses and services will ask to see your proof of vaccination and valid government ID.

The requirement is in place until January 31, 2022, subject to extension.

Update from the BC Ministry of Health, August 24th, 2021

As of Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2021, masks must be worn in all indoor public spaces throughout B.C. to help slow the transmission of COVID-19 as B.C. prepares for the fall and respiratory illness season.

A new order from the provincial health officer will require people 12 and older to wear masks in indoor public settings, regardless of vaccination status. These settings include:

  • malls, shopping centres, coffee shops and retail and grocery stores;
  • liquor and drug stores;
  • airports, city halls, libraries, community and recreation centres;
  • restaurants, pubs and bars (unless seated);
  • on public transportation, in a taxi or ride-sharing vehicle;
  • areas of office buildings where services to the public are provided;
  • common areas of sport and fitness centres when not engaged in physical activity;
  • common areas of post-secondary institutions and non-profit organizations; and
  • inside schools for all K-12 staff, visitors and students in grades 4-12.

This temporary order will be reassessed as the B.C. vaccine card requirement is fully implemented in certain social and recreational settings, as announced on Aug. 23.


Update from the BC Ministry of Health, July 3, 2021

We are now in Step 3 of BC's Restart Plan.

The current PHO requirements can be found here.

viaSport has also updated its guidance for Step 2; Step 3 guidelines are expected to follow soon. Their updates can be found here.

On a personal note, I believe that there is a difference between public health compliance and the realistic assessment of risk for people you care about. Some practitioners might not feel comfortable with an abrupt return to "normal" practice; others might have circumstances that require ongoing vigilance.
Let's continue to make good decisions, and to be kind, calm, and safe.
-- Barb Wolfe, president, BCAF

viaSport Return to Sport Restart Guidelines June 1, 2021

viaSport has updated its guidelines for Return to Sport in BC, which has implications for the practice of Aikido. This will be a "living" document that is expected to change rapidly as BC progresses with its restart of sports and recreation.

Some important takeaways are

  • Provincial Public Health Orders take precedence; progression to future stages will be dependent on vaccination and hospitalization rates.
  • The main areas where distinctions are being made are in the areas of
    • travel (non-essential travel between the three travel zones is still restricted),
    • contact (now allowed on “the field of play” in outdoor settings only),
    • indoor (physical distancing, maximum of 2 adults) vs. outdoor (physical distancing when not on the “field of play”), and
    • youth vs. adult.

While the BCAF is NOT a member of viaSport, as we are a non-competitive martial art, there is a lot of useful information for individual dojo looking to resume in-person practice in a manner that is in line with the intentions of rapidly changing PHOs.

As BC proceeds with its restart throughout the summer, we will be moving toward a decentralization of guidelines. This means that individual dojo will have to consider their own unique circumstances and the attitudes of their instructors and members when devising their COVID protocols and safety plans.

Click here for the link to viaSport’s Return to Sport Restart_2.0.  Check the link often for updates.



Update from the BC Ministry of Health, April 19, 2021

On April 19th, BC Premier John Horgan announced the continuation of existing COVID-19 restrictions for a 5-week period continuing until the end of the Victoria Day long weekend (May 24th). In addition, BC has announced travel restrictions forbidding non-essential travel outside home communities.

Please see the Update from February 10th, 2021, for information about how these restrictions impact Aikido practice for both adults and youth.
See our News page for the many virtual Aikido-related practices available; stay safe, stay home.

Update from the BC Ministry of Health, February 10, 2021

The BC Public Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, has extended the orders and notices regarding gatherings and events in BC:

Adult Aikido practice falls under the heading of Group Sport, section F, page 15. 

1. A person may permit a place, other than a private residence or vacation accommodation, to be used for, or may provide, or may participate in group sport, if the following conditions are met:
a. if the group sport is indoors, only two persons participate;
b. if the group sport is outdoors, only four persons participate;
c. the participants maintain a distance of three metres from one another while engaged in the group sport, unless the participants reside in the same private residence;
d. there are no spectators, unless the presence of a spectator is necessary in order to provide care to a participant
2. No person may permit a place be used for, or may provide, or may participate in group sport, unless the conditions in section 1 are met.
3. No person may be present as a spectator at group sport, unless the presence of the person is necessary in order to provide care to a participant.

Youth Aikido (according to the PHO definitions, this refers to persons under 22 years of age) falls under the heading of Sport for Children or Youth, section D, page 14.  

1. A person may permit a place, other than a private residence or vacation accommodation, to be used for, or may provide, or may participate in sport for children or youth, if the following conditions are met:
a. participants maintain a physical distance of three metres from one another and do not engage in handshaking, high fives, hugging or similar behaviour;
b. the focus is on activities that have a low risk of COVID-19 virus transmission;
c. no person is present as a spectator, unless the presence of the person is necessary in order to provide care to a child or youth who is a participant.
2. No person may permit a place to be used for, may provide, or may participate in sport for children or youth, unless the conditions in section 1 are met.
3. No person may be present as a spectator at sport for children or youth, unless the presence of the person is necessary in order to provide care to a participant.

Update from the BC Ministry of Health, December 14, 2020

On December 14th, 2020, the BC Ministry of Health issued an update that allows low intensity group exercise to resume with an updated COVID-19 Safety Plan.  A link to the pdf is Here.

Even though Aikido is non-competitive and does not fall within ViaSport’s purview, BCAF’s “Returning to Aikido” guidelines were based on those created by Judo BC. Consequently, the BCAF Executive has concluded that Aikido best fits the category of “Martial Arts, cheerleading, and gymnastics studios”. This category is not included in the most recent update allowing low-intensity activities.
While it is true that Aikido can be practiced in a low-intensity manner, it is important to remember that breath control is just one of several layers of prevention that include mask wearing, physical distancing, and proper ventilation.

New Orders from the Public Health Officer, December 3, 2020

These new guidelines were just announced yesterday by BC's PHO.  Martial arts is included under indoor and outdoor team sports.

Adult:  "All indoor and outdoor sports for people 19 years of age and older are suspended."

Youth:  "All organized indoor and outdoor sports for people under 19 years of age must follow viaSport's Return to Sport Phase 2 guidance with respect to maintaining physical distance for participants."
We interpret this to mean no contact other than within households.

Here is the link to the webpage for further information  Province-wide restrictions.

New Orders from the Public Health Officer, November 23rd

Excerpt from the revised Public Health Orders of November 23rd, 2020

Link here: Province-Wide Restrictions, Athletic Activities

Group indoor fitness activities

Businesses, recreation centres or other organizations that organize or operate high risk indoor group physical activities must suspend the following activities:

  • Spin classes
  • Hot yoga
  • High intensity interval training (HIIT)

​Venues that organize or operate other types of indoor group physical activities must suspend them temporarily while new guidance is being developed. These include:

  • Dance studios
  • Martial arts
  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Strength and conditioning
  • Cheerleading

Venues must use the new guidance to update and re-post their COVID-19 Safety Plan before resuming operations. 


September update - BCAF Returning to Aikido Practice - September 10, 2020

The link to the September update to the BCAF Returning to Aikido Practice guidelines (originally sent out in June)

                                                      Link to document here

Six months into the pandemic, viaSport BC has issued guidelines for slowly opening the practices of some amateur sports.  Aikido is not a member of viaSport but our practice shares many of the attributes of Judo, which is in viaSport's category of "combative sports"  

The original BCAF document has a new preface and all changes to the suggested protocols are highlighted.


BCAF Returning to Aikido Practice - June 20, 2020

Click on the link here for the BCAF Restart Guidelines pdf (June 2020).

The BCAF Restart Guidelines were sent to all BCAF dojos in June, just as the BC PHO had announced the beginning of phase 3 of the BC Restart Plan.

The BCAF Executive had been researching and distilling the guidelines issued by BC Public Health, viaSport, British Columbia Recreation and Parks Association, WorkSafe BC, and Judo BC.  The fruit of this work is now a documented set of guidelines attached for member dojos to consult and adapt to their local requirements.  

We hope these guidelines will serve you well.  We also understand the task of restarting safely and getting it right can be daunting.  As always, your BCAF Executive is here to support you so if you have any questions or require some assistance, please reach out to us.



"Aiki is not a technique to fight with or defeat the enemy. It is the way to reconcile the world and make human beings one family."

- O’Sensei