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.
"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."