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Coronavirus: Still no plan on B.C. youth returning to competitive sports

Click to play video 'B.C. government announces $1.5 M funding for local sport organizations' B.C. government announces $1.5 M funding for local sport organizations
Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Lisa Beare announces new funding for community-based sports clubs in British Columbia. – Jul 28, 2020

Kids and teens hoping to play a competitive game of soccer or football before the summer ends are still out of luck.

The B.C. government has still not released a timeline on kids returning to play competitive sports, as the COVID-19 pandemic drags on.

The province has been working with the provincial health officer and viaSport, a non-profit that promotes participation in sports, to design a return-to-play plan.

But it’s still in phase two, which only includes teams developing skills together with a maximum of 10 players per group. Contact sports remain off the table, as does any travel for competition.

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Province takes steps to protect minor sports organizations from COVID-19 related liability – Jun 11, 2020

“We are following our provincial health guidelines. We are still in that return-to-play mode,” said Lisa Beare, the minister in charge of sport, at a news conference on Tuesday.

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“Every decision we have made here in B.C. has been made in science.”

Beare held the news conference to announce $1.5 million in funding to help local sport groups cover some of the financial losses due to the pandemic.

Read more: The pandemic playbook: A return to sport under COVID-19 restrictions

The province also extended legal protection to amateur sport groups so they cannot be held liable for damages caused by possible exposure to COVID-19.

“Many amateur sport clubs in British Columbia are volunteer-based and rely on membership fees, events, tournaments and competitions to fund sport activities in their communities,” viaSport CEO Charlene Krepiakevich said.

“COVID-19 has especially impacted their ability to do that. This funding will help local clubs at the most financial risk to maintain operations until, and as, their communities and facilities can slowly reopen.”

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Coronavirus outbreak impacting B.C. youth sports team – Mar 10, 2020

Canadian Heritage is also investing $3.4 million in sports organizations in British Columbia, to be distributed through viaSport across the sport sector.

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So far, provincial sports organizations have completed 54 sport-specific plans to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic.