hockey skate

Public Health is reminding local hockey associations to follow standard precautions, association guidelines and provincial laws to reduce the risk of COVID-19.

In a statement released December 15, Public Health has recently investigated cases of COVID-19 associated with hockey teams. "To ensure a safe return to hockey, the Ontario Hockey Federation and the province have provided guidance to prevent COVID-19 transmission," read the release.

Currently there are no outbreaks; that is, evidence of transmission from person to person, within hockey teams in Grey Bruce and Public Health recommends play and practice be limited to only within Grey and Bruce counties. Hockey teams and leagues from the red (control) level or grey (lockdown) level should not be playing with teams in Grey and Bruce counties. As such, facilities should not be providing rentals to teams from those areas that prohibit team sports.

Public Health recommends limiting travel for only essential reasons, such as work, school or for medical reasons. Recreational, non-medical, social or leisure related reasons for travel would not be considered essential and are discouraged as per the provincial direction. For more information, visit Considerations for Travel.

"Individuals should be mindful of the risk of participating in team sports and should not socialize with the team before and after training or the game," the release added.

Across Canada, sports-associated transmission of COVID-19 has occurred from improper use of locker rooms, participants carpooling and socializing outside of their household, belonging to more than one team, improper travelling, and not wearing masks. It is extremely important that everyone abide by standard COVID-19 precautions and the rules for hockey, given that if transmission occurs within the team, it is likely that transmission will continue within households and workplaces as other jurisdictions have seen.

Additional Recommendations for Hockey:

Stay home if you have symptoms. If you get tested, and your symptoms have resolved, you must isolate until you received your results.

Limit carpooling and socializing to those within your household.

Wear a mask or face covering in a manner that covers your mouth and nose when in an indoor area such as entering or exiting the facility, while coaching, and as a spectator.

For more information and exemptions, visit FAQ for Wearing Masks and Face Coverings at FAQ for Wearing Masks and Face Coverings.

Co-ordinate hockey teams to create a league that contains no more than 50 players. The league may only play and practice with members of the same league. A hockey association cannot expand leagues/bubbles/cohorts or join another league for additional play or practice if the resultant group has more than 50 players.

Do not coach or play in more than one league.

Maintain a two-metre physical distance in change rooms, spectator stands, and on players' benches.

Limit time spent in change rooms. Use change rooms for changing only. Do not use change rooms for socializing, sharing food or beverages.

Avoid physical contact during play.

Clean and disinfect your equipment regularly. Do not share sports gear with other people.

Practice frequent hand hygiene by using an alcohol-based hand rub or washing your hands with soap and water.

If possible, play outside rather than indoors. Consult your municipality for outdoor rink protocols.

Refer to Measures for Sports and Recreation Facilities for more information on facility requirements for the yellow (protect) level.

For basic guidance about the stages, please visit the Health Unit’s website: COVID Response Framework.

For more detailed information, we encourage you to visit the provincial website: COVID-19 response framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open.