Over the past month, we have seen the protocols in place in response to Covid-19 eased, and most of the measures we’ve seen in place for the past 2 years will soon end. On Monday, March 21, 2022 we will see the most significant change since the pandemic began two years ago, with the removal of mask wearing and social distancing requirements. At the same time, the requirement for organizations like the BWHA to have a Covid response plan will come to an end - along with such processes as positive case reporting and attendance tracking.
Masks No Longer Required, But Still Recommended
While masks and social distancing are no longer strictly required by public health in all settings, both are still important measures to reduce the spread indoors. The BWHA is recommending for players and coaches to wear a mask and to maintain social distancing as much as possible - especially in dressing rooms - in order to maximize the chances of keeping our teams at full strength this season.
Be Kind and Respectful
It is important to realize that, with many of the circumstances that have become common place over the past 2 years are changing quickly, members of our hockey community may have different levels of comfort with these changes. While some will be happy to no longer wear a mask, others may be more comfortable continuing to wear one. Please be tolerant of each others’ choices and, as always, be respectful of everyone in our hockey community. We are also asking parents to review with their players that any type of negative behaviour towards those wearing or not wearing masks will be treated as bullying and will not be tolerated.
Who can Participate in Hockey?
Recent changes to Covid-19 response requirements mean that the isolation period has been significantly shortened for those who test positive or have symptoms of Covid-19. At the same time, isolation requirements have been eliminated for many situations and circumstances where an individual may have been exposed to the virus (i.e. a close contact). HOWEVER, it is important to note that individuals who have symptoms, who test positive, or who may have been in contact with someone with Covid-19 are still required to wear a mask and maintain distance from others for a period of 10-days - and this requirement will impact the ability of such individuals to participate in hockey.
Please review the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit’s Covid-19 Fact Sheet: Symptoms, Testing & Isolation Requirements.
Though hockey has been greatly impacted by Covid-19 over the past 2 seasons, it’s the efforts of players, parents, and volunteers that have allowed our sport to continue as much as possible during some very difficult circumstances. While the final in-arena Covid-19 protocols are being removed, these efforts cannot stop now if we want to minimize the impact on hockey. It is up to each of us to know when it is best to not come to the arena in order to keep teammates and volunteers safe. If you are sick, or have been around someone who is sick, don’t come to hockey.
Facility related vaccination requirements came to an end on March 1, 2022 - including the requirement to show proof of vaccination when entering a recreation facility. However, the OWHA's Vaccination Policy remains in effect at this time, meaning that all individuals born in 2010 and before are required to be fully vaccinated to participate in hockey activities.
BWHA players, volunteers and parents are expected to treat the recreation facility staff and other users with the utmost respect at all times. We have a Zero Tolerance for harassment. 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 further discipline through the BWHA and OWHA code of conduct - up to and including suspension the player related to such individuals.