COVID-19 Updates


Feb. 13, 2022

February 13, 2022: SMDHU Clarification: 10-Days Away From Hockey For Those Impacted By COVID-19

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health unit has recently provided clarity on how the requirements for wearing a mask impact the eligibility for individuals to participate in hockey. In most cases, this means individuals experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, or exposed to someone who has COVID-19, will be unable to participate in hockey for 10-days.

The SMDHU has asked that following points of clarification be shared with our members:


What to do if you have symptoms of COVID-19

In addition to guidelines already in place, the SMDHU has added the following clarification:

Anyone involved in sports who has completed their 5-day isolation period, who cannot maintain masking and physical distancing requirements, should not return to practice or play for an additional 5 days from the end of your isolation period (10 days from symptom onset or from the date of your test, whichever came first). This is because an infected person may be contagious up to 10 days after symptom onset/date of test.

 

What to do if you live with someone who has symptoms or has tested positive for COVID-19

In addition to guidelines already in place, the SMDHU has added the following clarification:

If your isolation period is only 5 days, instead of 10 days, and you are involved in sports where you cannot maintain masking and physical distancing requirements, you should not return to practice or play for an additional 5 days from the end of your 5 day isolation period.

 

What to do if you have been exposed to someone who has symptoms or has tested positive for COVID-19 that you don’t live with

In addition to guidelines already in place, the SMDHU has added the following clarification:

If you are involved in sports where you cannot maintain masking and physical distancing requirements, you should not return to practice or play until 10 days from your last exposure to the person. 

 

The SMDHU has added this clarification to the COVID-19 information available on their website - you can find this information within the expandable sections on this page: https://www.simcoemuskokahealth.org/Topics/COVID-19

 

In response to this clarification, the BWHA has made some important updates to our Return to Hockey Plan. All players/parents should review the revised directions under Section 2: Participant Heath & Safety Protocols. In particular, the BWHA wishes to emphasize two important points:

  1. Each individual is responsible to familiarize themselves with the public health guidelines relevant to individuals who have symptoms of COVID-19, have tested positive for COVID-19, or have been exposed to an individual who has COVID-19. Furthermore, each individual participating in BWHA hockey activities must ensure they are following the guidance and protocols specific to their situation, and to take the proper actions without direction from the BWHA.
  1. Where individuals are found to be knowingly or unknowingly not following public health guidance or the directions in this Return to Hockey plan, such individuals may be prevented from participating in hockey activities until the BWHA is satisfied that all guidance is being followed.

 

The BWHA is aware that this new clarity from the SMDHU could have a significant impact on hockey participation, and we have pointed out to the SMDHU that we are not aware of any other hockey organizations, associations, or governing bodies in the province who are communicating such a strict interpretation of the impact of mask wearing requirements on hockey activities. Nonetheless, we are asking all members to continue following all public health guidelines - including these new clarifications - to keep themselves and teammates safe, and to bests ensure our hockey programs are permitted to continue.

 

Please visit our COVID-19 Protocols and Vaccine Requirements page for details on all measures to be followed. Our BWHA Return to Hockey Plan has also been updated once again to reflect changing protocols and the clarification provided by the SMDHU.

 


February 3, 2022: City of Barrie Updates Facility Protocols

Following the recent reopening of recreation facilities, the City of Barrie has informed us of the following changes that will take effect immediately at all City-operate recreation facilities:

Changerooms

  • Arena dressing rooms are returned to full capacity - please wear a mask within.
  • Dressing rooms are available for access 30 minutes ahead of the scheduled ice time and must be vacated no later than 30 minutes following the ice use.
  • Showers will be available for use.

COVID Screening Process Change

  • Visitors will no longer be required to complete the online COVID Facility Entry Screening Tool prior to entry.
  • Recreation Centre will conduct a verbal screening upon entry. Visitors will be asked to respond to a list of COVID screening questions that will be posted at the entrance to all centres.

Capacity in the Facility:

  • The facility as a whole is limited to 50% or regular capacity.
  • Spectator areas are limited to 50% so the City of Barrie is asking that a maximum of 2 spectators per player attend to maintain our capacity limits.

Proof of Vaccination:

  • Enhanced Vaccination Receipt with QR code must be presented at entry and staff will scan the QR code to verify.
  • Adults must present valid ID.
  • Youth may provide copies of ID; originals are not required.

Other facilities that are regularly utilized for BWHA activities - including the Town of Innisfil, National Training Rinks, and the Centre Ice Complex at Nottawasaga - have not yet confirmed the same easing of restrictions and the situation is also expected to be different at other areas for road games. Parents and players should keep an eye on our Covid-19 Protocols and Vaccine Requirements page for the latest information. Most importantly, everyone should remain patient and flexible - be prepared to encounter different restrictions at different arenas, and always follow the direction of arena staff.

 


Hockey to Resume January 31, 2022

On Thursday, January 20, 2021 the Ontario government announced that the current COVID-19 restrictions would soon begin to be eased. Following this announcement, the Ontario Women’s Hockey Association and the City of Barrie have both confirmed that our hockey activities can resume as of January 31, 2022.

  • Competitive team practices and games will resume as scheduled from January 31, 2022
  • House League team practices and games will resume as scheduled from January 31, 2022
  • Adult Women's League will resume as scheduled from February 6, 2022

*With many schedule adjustments likely required in the coming days and weeks, parents and players should pay close attention to team schedules on BWHA.ca. 

While some details have not yet been fully provided, and while protocols may differ slightly for each facility operator, generally we are expecting the following conditions to be in place as of January 31, 2022:

  • Entry will be permitted 30 minutes prior to the start of each activity
  • Players should arrive fully dressed to the extent possible, in order to limit time in the dressing room
  • Previous proof of vaccination requirements will remain in place for all individuals 12 and over - only Enhanced Vaccination Receipts with a QR code will be accepted
  • Dressing rooms will be limited to 12 players, with chairs provided outside of the room (or in another designated location) for additional players
  • Spectators will be limited to 50% capacity, and all spectators must be physically distanced. In respect of this, the BWHA is asking that attendance be limited to 1 parent per player.

Since requirements from the Province of Ontario, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, or facility operators may change from time to time, parents and players should review our Covid-19 Protocols & Vaccine Requirements page to see current requirements. You can also click here to find links to the Covid-19 Facility Screening Tools  for local facilities.

The BWHA has also updated our Return to Hockey Plan to reflect current circumstances more accurately - click here to find the full BWHA Return to Hockey Plan.

The BWHA is also still in the process of determining the final impact of the recent pause on our full season. While efforts will be made to reschedule some missed activities, it is likely the total number of games and practices planned for this season may need to be adjusted for some levels/divisions. Should this be the case, the BWHA will provide refunds for any portion of the season that is unable to be delivered - more information will be provided as decisions are made.

The BWHA is very excited that hockey will be permitted to return. At the same time, it is important for everyone to realize that more than ever it will take the individual efforts of all members for hockey to continue to be safe. With Covid-19 still circulating widely in the community, and with certain public health measures like PCR tests and contact tracing no longer in place, it will be up to each player and parent to use good judgment about when to participate or not participate in hockey activities for the safety of their teammates.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to president@bwha.ca

 


 January 3, 2022 - Immediate Pause on Hockey Activities

Earlier today, the Ontario Government announced that the province will temporarily return to a “modified” Step 2 of the Reopening Ontario Plan. The restrictions that will be introduced as of Wednesday, January 5 will include:

  • Closing indoor sport and recreational fitness facilities including gyms, except for athletes training for the Olympics and Paralympics and select professional and elite amateur sport leagues. Outdoor facilities are permitted to operate but with the number of spectators not to exceed 50 per cent occupancy and other requirements.

With this news, the Barrie Women’s Hockey Association will pause all hockey activities effective immediately. All practices and development activities scheduled for January 3 and 4, 2022, will be canceled.

(This pause will not include the Barrie Jr. Sharks as Provincial Women’s Hockey League teams are permitted to continue activities at this time under the framework for elite amateur leagues and events. The BWHA and Jr. Sharks team officials will continue working closely together to monitor the situation and ensure the continued safety of all players and team staff).

Further information on the impacts of this pause to our season will be shared with teams shortly. Over the next few weeks, we will share more information about the restart of hockey activities as more becomes known. In the meantime, we hope everyone stays safe and healthy, and we encourage all members and their family to do all of the things to limit the risks associated with Covid-19, including getting a booster shot when and where possible.

 


December 19, 2021 - New Arena Protocols

As part of changes to the Provincial Covid-19 response guidelines, new restrictions at our local arenas came into effect on Sunday December 19, 2021.  Please read the highlights below to ensure you are familiar and prepared for these new restrictions. Note: full details, and links to facility screening tools, can be found on our full Covid-19 Protocols and Vaccine Requirements page.

Effective December 19, 2021, Ontario Government's announcement December 17th - Ontario Further Strengthening Response to Omicron will require:

  • Must area arenas have restricted entry to 30mins prior to any on ice activity (Game or Practice).  Anyone trying to enter the facility earlier than the 30min window will be denied.
  • Due to capacity limitations, please come to your scheduled ice time masked, dressed as much as possible and ready to participate in your on-ice activity.
  • Change room capacity will be limited at each arena. Additional chairs will be placed outside the change room for players once they have put on the undergarments and lower body equipment.  Change rooms will be available after participating in your on-ice activity with the same capacity limits.  No undressing of undergarments should occur outside the change room.
  • It is important to note that on-ice capacities have not been restricted to 35-38 players, depending on the area - however these restrictions should not impact our hockey programs.
  • Our ice providers have asked the BWHA (and all user groups) to limit spectators, to assist keeping the numbers inside the facility to a minimum.  This coincides with our early BWHA email on December 16th - where we stated that "parents should limit the family members present in the rink for practices and/or games" and that "if more than one parent will attend practices and/or games, please ensure to spread out and maintain physical distancing at all times.
We appreciate everyone's efforts over the past 18 months, as we all do our part to allow our female athletes to participate in the sport they love.  That said, it is important to remind all BWHA players, volunteers and parents that they are expected to treat ALL recreation staff and other users with the utmost respect, at all times.  The BWHA has Zero Tolerance for harassment of any type.  Anyone found to be acting in a disrespectful or uncivil manner will be asked to leave the facility and will face consequences that could include suspension from the facility, loss of ice time for the organization being represented and/or fines.  All such individuals will also be subject to discipline through the BWHA and OWHA code of conduct - up to and including suspension for the player related to such individual
 
Full details, and links to facility screening tools, can be found on our full Covid-19 Protocols and Vaccine Requirements page.
 

December 17, 2021 - Hockey Eligibility: Who Can Play Hockey Right Now?

While many hockey activities have been postponed for the upcoming weekend, we want to provide some important clarifications for those who will be continuing to participate:

1. Individuals who receive a positive rapid test should immediately stop participating in all activities, including hockey. Please see information from Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unity about how to book a PCR test as soon as possible. You must also share this information with your team coach, manager or trainer as soon as possible. If you have recent contact with the team, they may confidentially inform teammates about a positive rapid test within the team, so that others can begin taking elevated precautions and seeking a Covid-19 test as appropriate.

2. Individuals who have been identified as a close contact of a positive case must immediate stop participating in hockey activities. Please review the SMDHU FACTSHEET: YOU ARE A CLOSE CONTACT OF A PERSON WHO TESTED POSITIVE FOR COVID-19.

  • For individuals who are unvaccinated, the situation is very clear as they are required to self isolate.
  • While individuals who are double vaccinated are not required to self isolate, the requirement to wear a mask and maintain physical distancing at all times means they are ineligible to play hockey.
  • We are aware that some confusion exists since this specific requirement is not clear in the letter some students are receiving when identified as a close contact at school - but the SMDHU has given us specific direction that close contacts cannot participate in hockey.

While some hockey activities continue at this time, new restrictions could be introduced at any time that could change this and we will share additional information as it comes to us.

For those not participating in hockey right now, we hope you enjoy this break to spend time with friends and family, and please continue doing all of the things required to keep each other safe.

 


 December 16, 2021 - HOCKEY UPDATE: REVISED COVID-19 PROTOCOLS

To all BWHA members:

The BWHA’s primary focus this season has been ensuring that we can provide safe hockey opportunities for our players. We know hockey is an important part of the lives of our players, especially when sometimes little else feels normal right now. We want to keep our teams on the ice, but only if we can do so safely. As we approach the holiday season, this is more important than ever...

The BWHA’s Covid Response Committee met tonight to review the current circumstances in Barrie and Southern Ontario. Based on the continued commitment and efforts from our players and volunteers to follow Covid-19 protocols, we are comfortable with hockey continuing at this time. With some additional efforts to reduce points of contact, we are confident that together we can all manage the risks associated with Covid-19 and continue to keep our female athletes on the ice.

Players, coaches and other volunteers are asked to adhere to the following protocols effective immediately:

  • Players wear their masks correctly at all times, unless they are on the ice or on the bench during games. Masks must not come off until just before players are ready to take the ice. Players should not congregate at rinks side with masks off, waiting to take the ice. Players observed not wearing masked correctly will be sent home, without warning.
  • Coaching staff and on ice helpers must wear masks at all times, now including on the ice during practices. Volunteers should seek to maintain social distancing on ice as much as possible, staying 6 feet (2 meters) away from others on and off the ice.
  • Coaches, assistant coaches, and trainers must wear masks on the bench at all times. Anyone observed pulling their mask down or not wearing a mask correctly may face disciplinary action.
  • Indoor social activities such as parities or dinners are not permitted - anything planned must be cancelled. Please move these events online or postpone until the new year.
  • All house league and competitive teams must keep accurate record of all players, coaches and other volunteers that attend games, practices and other activities. Teams must maintain these records for 30 days after each activity, and be ready to provide to public health officials as required.

In addition to the above, the BWHA is also making the following recommendations:

  • Players should limit time in the dressing room - please arrive at the arena dressed as much as possible and ready to play
  • Parents should limit the family members present in the rink for practices and games. If more than one parent will attend games, please ensure to spread out and maintain physical distancing at all times.
  • Teams who are hosting opposing teams from outside Barrie are asked to share this communication with them and ask them to please follow these same directions.
  • Teams are asked to avoid the use of call-up players where possible. Where call-up players are required due to significant player absence, please contact either the Director of Competitive Programs, the Director our Youth House League or the Director of Women’s Rec.
  • Indoor off-ice training opportunities may continue, but all guidelines and protocols must be respected. Masks should be worn at all times, where activities allow. Teams should consider cancelling any indoor training activities that don’t allow mask wearing.
  • Team warm-ups activities should take place outside, where possible. Indoor activities must be conducted safely - social distancing should be maintained, and masks worn at all times
  • All competitive and house league teams playing outside of Barrie are urged to check with the team they are playing to make sure they are aware of changes to COVID-19 protocols in their area. The BWHA is aware that our City of Barrie protocols may differ from other associations, even within our same District Health Unit.

It is important to acknowledge that there are risks to any activity during this pandemic, especially activities like hockey, that include close physical contact on the ice while not wearing a mask.  We must all be open to the idea that our friends, teammates and partner associations may not have the same level of comfort, as the BWHA, for playing hockey right now. Presently, based on all the details we have to consider, the BWHA believes that the decision to continue playing hockey is best placed in the hands of our teams, coaches, players and parents. The BWHA will support the decision of any player who wishes to not participate, or any team that wishes to suspend activities this weekend. Teams wishing to pause activities are asked to contact the Director of Youth House LeagueDirector of Women’s League or Director of Competitive Program as soon as possible.

This is an evolving situation, and a number of games and practices have already been cancelled for this weekend. It is entirely possible that the BWHA may have to make further modifications to our programming before the weekend, or restrictions imposed by other levels may impact our ability to continue playing hockey. The BWHA will keep everyone informed as quickly as we can and continue to stay in contact with our partners at the SMDHU, City of Barrie and OWHA.

We thank everyone for your continued efforts to keep everyone safe - including wearing your masks, keeping socially distanced, practicing good hygiene and getting vaccinated.  We believe these efforts have helped the BWHA keep its programming from being halted or paused, thus far during the 2021-2022 season. 

Stay safe, support one another and enjoy the upcoming holiday season.

 


 November 28, 2021 - PROOF OF VACCINE REQUIREMENT CHANGES

Our 2021-22 season is off to a great start, with hockey feeling more normal this season. It’s been amazing to see all the great play on the ice, smiles and laughter (under masks) off the ice.

With Covid-19 cases on the rise in our Simcoe-Muskoka area, now is the time to increase our vigilance for following Covid-19 protocols. There have been positive cases in our hockey community this fall, so everyone one of us needs to renew our commitment to keeping each other safe by following Covid-19 protocols.

  • Masks must be worn by players at all times while not on the ice. Masks should be removed only immediately before leaving the dressing room, and must be worn again upon returning after the game or practice. Coaches and managers are being encouraged enforce game/practice suspensions for players who are not properly following these guidelines.
  • Screening forms must be completed before each game or practice. While these have likely become an automatic part of your pre-game or pre-practice routine, please remember that the screening tool is an important guide to whether you should be participating in activities or not - please consider each question carefully and answer truthfully.
  • Players or staff who need to miss practices or games for any Covid-19 related reason should update their Coach, Manager or Trainer as soon as possible.
  • Players or staff who test positive - whether related to hockey or not - should report this as quickly as possible to covid@bwha.ca.


Proof of Vaccination Process Changes

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has updated proof of vaccine requirements for individuals participating in recreation activities - click here for full details. While the OWHA’s Vaccine Policy already in place should mean that all individuals impacted by the changes are already vaccinated, you may soon be required to show proof of vaccination more frequently.

  • As of November 25, all individuals 12 years and over who are acting as a coach, official, or other volunteer are now required to provide proof of vaccination when entering a recreation facility. While previously coaches, officials and volunteers were exempted from these requirements, they should now be prepared to show proof of vaccination every time they enter an arena.
  • As of December 8, all players aged 12 and over who are participating in an organized sports activity will be required to provide proof of vaccination when entering a recreation facility. While currently players between the ages of 12 and 18 are exempt from proof of vaccine requirements, as of December 8 ALL PLAYERS should be prepared to show proof of vaccination every time they enter an arena.

 


 October 18, 2021

On Monday October 4, 2021 the OWHA released their full Vaccination Policy - which provides detail on the vaccine requirement, and who it applies to.

Please read this important information about how the OWHA’s Vaccination Policy will be implemented by the Barrie Women’s Hockey Association:

 

  1. Starting Wednesday, October 20, 2021, members of the BWHA’s Board of Directors will be attending the next scheduled ice time for each competitive, house league, and adult women’s league game to verify vaccine receipts and record the vaccine statues for each player, coach, and other team volunteers. Vaccine receipts will be visually verified only - not collected.

  1. All players and volunteers must present their vaccine receipt for verification at their next team ice time on or after Wednesday, October 20, 2021.

  1. Anyone who cannot provide proof of their adherence to the OWHA policy will not be permitted to participate in any hockey activities until they can do so - including the practice or game they are arriving at.

  1. Players and staff members who cannot present their vaccine receipt for verification at their next ice time, or who are not present at their next ice time when vaccine receipts will be verified, will be required to attend the BWHA office (by appointment during regular office hours) in order to verify their vaccine status. These individuals will not be permitted to participate in any hockey activities until the verification process has been completed at the office.

  1. Anyone who requires a medical exemption from the OWHA’s Vaccination Policy must complete the OWHA’s Covid-19 Medical Exemption Request Form and submit it in accordance with the process defined on the form. In order to continue participating in hockey activities, individuals must have received a determination from the OWHA in response to their Medical Exemption Request Form - those who have completed such a request but have not yet received a response will not be permitted to participate while awaiting such response.

Anyone with questions about the OWHA’s Vaccination Policy or the BWHA’s implementation of this policy, should contact chieftrainer@bwha.ca.

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