Responses to Questions Collected by Tourism, Heritage and Culture – Sports & Recreation Branch
October 14, 2020
- How many can we fit on player benches? i.e If EDZA has a full hockey game and carries a full roster, how are they to social distance on the bench? QMJHL and MJAHL have received special exemptions from the province but what do we do about High School, AAA and minor hockey teams on benches?
Physical distancing must be maintained as much as possible on team benches. Where team benches cannot be adapted to allow for physical distancing (e.g. arenas), teams should act to limit the duration of player interaction by employing frequent substitutions. For venues where team benches can be adapted, teams should act to maintain physical distancing. Participants are not required to wear masks while on the team bench during game play, but if feasible, this should be enabled. Where participants are not wearing masks on the team bench during game play, ensure participants are being rotated; any participant not in regular rotation should wear a mask (e.g. Coaches, 2nd goalie, etc.).
- My question is with regards to our arena, our cooling system is not a traditional in floor system and we chill the air temperature to minus 4 to 5 degrees C. Can the virus live on surfaces in our arena at these temps?
Colder temperatures may increase potential risk of COVID-19 transmission. Public Health guidance is to clean and disinfect high-touch surface areas twice daily, or more often if soiled.
- Will Santa Claus parades be able to operate as per normal in municipalities? Are parades allowed?
An operational plan would be required. ‘Reverse parades’, where the floats line up and cars drive by is recommended as a way to hold safer parades at this time where planning is able to adapt to the public health measures. Participants on the floats would be required to maintain the Public Health measures, as would spectators.
- Special events – will there be any changes to the ban after December 31?
In the current yellow alert level, there is no ban on events that are able to adapt to the public health measures. COVID-19 operational plans are required. In the current yellow alert level, events can take place if they are able to uphold the public health measures in practice.
- Will Public Health release a guidance document for hosting safe festivals and events, and if so, when should we expect such document?
This is something that is being considered, although there is no update at this point.
- Socialization Programs. Members are looking for socialization programs (Coffee & Chats). Can we serve coffee/tea to members? Can members serve themselves? If so what are the guidelines to follow with serving or self-serve.
Socialization Programs are important from a public health perspective. In the current yellow alert level, coffee and chats can continue – adaptation/modification will be required, but it is possible and feasible to do so. Detail risk mitigation specific to your operation (group socialization, coffee, lunch, snacks) in a COVID-19 operational plan. Ensure physical distancing, knowledge of screening criteria (when to stay home when sick or required to do so), knowledge of COVID-19 risk for patrons and volunteers and staff (including vulnerabilities) in order to promote informed decision-making about participation, cleaning and disinfection of high-touch surface areas, wearing a face mask, and enabling good hand and respiratory hygiene.
Masks are now required to be worn within indoor public spaces – when socializing with tea and snacks or meals, it is important to maintain physical distancing when masks are not worn while eating drinking and to limit time spent without a mask. Wear the mask up to the point of eating/drinking, enjoy a shared, physically distanced meal, and replace masks promptly. Masks decrease risk of transmission – risk is heightened when masks are off. Enjoy meals outdoors in this way to decrease some of the additional risk, when weather permits.
The document ‘COVID-19 Operational Plan Guide’ under General Resources provides some further information on safer community food service in the context of COVID-19.
- Recommendations for games/cards/books. Can members play cards, use shared books, or other equipment that is not as easy to sanitize after use?
Best practice would be to limit use of shared items as much as possible when brining together individuals from different ‘close friends and family bubbles’. However, if card-playing is a usual part of social connection and recreation for example, there are ways you can keep this and other practices up in a safer way in the current yellow alert level. Wear a mask as required for indoor public spaces. If you are a facility operator, consider having free, or otherwise masks available before/at point of entry to anyone who may not have one, or who may not be able to afford one. Have handwashing facilities stocked and available. Ensure that you provide hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content at the point of card table. Communicate to everyone involved that they will need to sanitize their hands before playing cards. Remind individuals to not touch their face, and to sanitize their hands after doing so before rejoining the card game. Have tissue at the ready for coughs and sneezes, and sanitize hands after use. These simple adaptations are good practice for public health and will help to decrease risk of indirect COVID-19 transmission. Remember to keep distance and to wear a mask. Monitor local disease epidemiology of COVID-19 – if the Public Health alert level moves to orange or red in your area, you will need to adapt or cancel your activities. Risk is higher when there is evidence of local cases of COVID-19. When in orange alert level, ensure that participants are updated with informed understanding of heightened risk of COVID-19 infection and transmission during that time. When in orange, either cancel social events or limit to groups of up to 10 with physical distancing and continuous mask use. When in red alert level, the events will be cancelled.
- Similarly, can members use couches and chairs that are fabric material and not easy to sanitize after use
Yes, continue to use couches and chairs that are fabric in material; ensure physical distancing at all times including while seated and consider placing hand sanitizer at easy points of access. Wearing masks as is currently required within indoor public spaces will reduce some of the risk of transmission (both direct from persons through close airways and indirect from contaminated objects). Follow the public health measures and detail your approach in a COVID-19 operational plan. Ensure that you are modifying and adapting to enable physical distancing, hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, face mask use; that you are communicating your plan, screening requirements for staying home when sick or otherwise required to do so, and vulnerabilities and risk associated with COVID-19 to ensure informed decision-making. The combination of these approaches will decrease risk.
- Contact Tracing/Pre-Screening. Are volunteers allowed to conduct the contact tracing and pre-screening?
In the current yellow alert level, controlled venues at which seating is offered for the purposes of eating, drinking, socialization, celebration, ceremony or entertainment are required to maintain a record of the names and contact information of all persons who attend. The same applies to anyone who hosts, organizes or permits gatherings larger than 50. Keep information in a secure place and not in the public view. More information can be found in Collection of names and contact information under the Mandatory Order COVID-19.
Public Health takes all responsibility for every aspect of contact tracing – no one else will be asked to do so.
For screening, most operations will only need to conduct ‘passive screening’ – this requires that you have screening questionnaire posters/signs posted to door/points of entry to your facility. Make sure individuals are aware of the symptoms and the need to stay home when sick, or when required to self-isolate. For more information on screening, see WorkSafe New Brunswick’s resource ‘Embracing the New Normal’.
- Can we open outdoor skating rinks and if so, do the same restriction as our indoor arenas apply?
Yes, in the current yellow alert level, outdoor skating rinks can open with COVID-19 operational plans and adaptations to uphold the public health measures. Each unique setting requires a tailored COVID-19 operational plan. There may be similarities with indoor rink approaches, but each venue will require a plan that is specific to the setting and activity.
- Beginning October 1st, Nova Scotia is allowing sports training and competitions with no physical distancing requirement for groups less than 50. Will NB be doing this and when might that take affect?
Current disease epidemiology indicates heightened risk this season. This will be revisited in early 2021.
- In the letter dated September 1, it mentions “context-related factors”, i.e. crowds. Could you please elaborate on this? If our spectators are seated wearing masks are they considered a crowd? Are there any measures we need to take other than physical distancing of 2m in all directions?
Any large grouping of people is considered a ‘crowd’, including spectators seated in a venue. Large gatherings carry increased risk of COVID-19 transmission and infection and require particular attention to risk mitigation and adaptation. Occupancy limits, mask use, ensuring good ventilation if using an indoor space, and ensuring physical distancing are particularly important. ‘Business as usual’ is not to be expected. It is critical to be aware of context-related risk associated with COVID-19 (this includes factors such as occupancy, setting, activity type, etc.) to ensure informed planning.
- When participants are coming into the facility and have already pre-registered and we took attendance at the door, do we also need to collect names and contact info of their party? For example, if a child is in a swimming lesson, would we need their parents’ info if we already have the child’s, since we know that they were in the building at a specific date and time?
Yes, you must still collect names and contact information for each party upon entry as per the guidance outlined in this link.