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."
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 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
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.
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.
F. GROUP SPORT 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.
D. SPORT FOR CHILDREN OR YOUTH 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.
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.