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COVID-19: Parksville Qualicum Beach sports groups frustrated by ban

Provincial health directive discourages indoor sports
Parksville Golden Oldies Sports Association’s popular walking soccer league was one of several sports programs and activities that were cancelled following provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry’s latest announcement to ban indoor adult team sports. (PQB News file photo)

Parksville Qualicum Beach sports clubs and groups have expressed some frustration over stricter prohibitions announced by provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

Parksville Golden Oldies Sports Association, whose members consist mainly of senior citizens, immediately cancelled all indoor sports programs including curling, pickleball, walking soccer, slo-pitch and volleyball.

PGOSA president Rob Jonas said staying active during the winter months is an important undertaking for most of the members is disappointed they have to stop.

“I guess everybody is in the same boat, young and old,” said Jonas. “It’s a shame but at least we’re staying alive.”

Jonas said they still have some outdoor activities such as cycling that are still ongoing but he has advised activity managers to halt them for now.

“I asked them to consider shutting them down because cases are spreading like crazy,” said Jonas.

RELATED: Indoor adult sports teams banned, deemed too risky as B.C. battles surge in COVID cases

On Dec. 2, Henry announced that all indoor team sports will be banned, citing that they carry too high a rise of COVID-19 transmission. This includes basketball, cheerleading, combat sports, martial arts, floor ringette, netball, skating, soccer, squash and volleyball. Last month ban was put it effect on group fitness classes that include spin, yoga, aerobics, dance classes, bootcamp, dance fitness, and high-intensity interval training.

Henry stressed concerns about COVID-19 cases escalating. On Dec. 2, B.C. recorded 834 cases and 12 deaths.

Cascadia Martial Arts owner and instructor Brett Fee is disappointed they’re being told to shut down. He said they’ve already endured so much after closing earlier this year when the pandemic first broke out.

“We lost about 40 per cent of our membership for and since we re-opened, we built it back to 30 per cent then this happened,” said Fee. “It’s absolutely devastating.”

Fee said that they’re not a mixed-martial arts club. They are amateur martial art sport operating under the Phase 3 guidelines of ViaSport BC.

“We don’t do any grappling, just poomsae (fighting patterns) and we strictly enforce social distancing,” said Fee. “It’s a safe activity.”

Fee said they’ve now altered their programs to keep students safe. Instead of group sessions, they’re doing private instructions. They’re also using Zoom to conduct classes.

“There are some parents who actually do enjoy their kids getting one-on-one attention,” said Fee. “We had to modify that way we do things here.”

The Regional District of Nanaimo recreation department has decided to also follow the provincial health authority direction.

All indoor adult (19-plus) sport and fitness activities have been paused including aquafit until further notice. As well, indoor and outdoor adult group sports activities have been postponed and this includes pickleball, adult hockey, outdoor group sports, Oceanside Place scrub hockey, stick and puck sessions.

Special events such as Winter Wonderland and New Year’s Eve celebrations at Oceanside Place have been cancelled.

Other RDN registered programs such as public swims, skate sessions and all lane swims are being offered at this time and being reviewed by Island Health for adherence to the public health order. Registered programs such as art and dance programs for 18 years old and under will also continue.

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Michael Briones

About the Author: Michael Briones

I rejoined the PQB News team in April 2017 from the Comox Valley Echo, having previously covered sports for The NEWS in 1997.
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