Sports & Recreation Teams & Clubs
Frequently Asked Questions

Last Edited/Reviewed: October 28, 2021

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  1. What should a sport or recreation organization do to create a safe return to play plan?
  2. Should I screen athletes and sports volunteers before they come to games and practices?
  3. Can contact sports be played during COVID-19?
  4. Can I enter my team in a tournament?
  5. Are coaches, officials and trainers allowed to work with more than one sport or team?
  6. Can players join more than one league (e.g. two hockey leagues, a hockey league and a soccer league or community sports league)?
  7. Can athletes and or coaches carpool to their games or practices?
  8. Are masks required by coaches even if they are coaching outdoors?
  9. How can coaches minimize sharing of equipment or gear?
  10. Are sporting groups required to limit spectators even if the sport is played outdoors?
  11. What should I do if a coach or participant becomes unwell at their game or practice?
  12. What should I do if I learn about a participant on my team that tests positive for COVID-19?

1. What should a sport or recreation organization do to create a safe return to play plan?

Before any sport, recreation and fitness teams, groups or club begins their season, a safety plan must be developed to ensure all relevant public health guidelines and requirements are in place to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19.  Use the PPH COVID-19 Guidance: Sports and Recreation Teams and Clubs to assist with the development of your return to play safety plan. The final plan will be requested by any indoor/outdoor facility that you are using and should be shared with all relevant employees, volunteers, and participants (athletes, parents or guardians, coaches, volunteers, spectators).

2. Should I screen athletes and sports volunteers before they come to games and practices?

Yes. Active screening of all coaches, trainers, volunteers, participants, and spectators is required and must occur on the same day before attending a practice, game, or event. As of September 22, 2021, proof of vaccination is also required in order to enter a sports and recreational fitness facility. Check with the facility you are using to determine if they will be checking proof of vaccination at the door, or whether your team or club is required to do measure.

  • Use the COVID-19 Worker and Employee screening tool for staff and volunteers.
  • Use the COVID-19 Patron screening tool for participants and spectators.
  • Maintain a record of all coaches, volunteers, participants, and spectators (including names, contact information, dates and times) who attend practices, games, and events. These records must comply with privacy requirements and could support case and contact tracing by PPH in the event of an outbreak.

3. Can contact sports be played during COVID-19?

Yes. However, playing a contact sport will depend on the provincial and local public health measures in effect at the time of the event, game, or practice.  Teams or clubs participating in organized activities sanctioned by, or affiliated with, a provincial or national sport organization should refer to and ensure compliance with their governing body’s guidelines, as long as the governing body’s guidelines meet or exceed Provincial and Peterborough Public Health requirements.

4. Can I enter my team in a tournament?

Yes.  However, attending or organizing a tournament will depend on the provincial and local public health measures in effect at the time of the event. Anyone organizing a tournament will need to submit a tournament-specific safety plan to the facility operator that demonstrates how all public health measures will be followed, including how crowds and gatherings will be prevented.

5. Are coaches, officials and trainers allowed to work with more than one sport or team?

Yes, but this would be considered a high-risk activity that we do not recommend. Peterborough Public Health strongly discourages individuals from coaching/being officials in multiple sports leagues as this increases their potential exposure to COVID-19 and puts other participants and members of their household at increased risk. The impacts of any required self-isolation that could result due to a positive COVID-19 test is exponential based on one’s exposure and number of contacts.

6. Can players join more than one league (e.g. two hockey leagues, a hockey league and a soccer league or community sports league)?

This is strongly discouraged. While there is nothing in the provincial regulations that prohibits a participant from registering in multiple leagues, this would be considered a higher risk activity that we do not recommend. Participants need to consider their respective sport’s governing body requirements, as they may exceed the provincial regulations by not allowing a participant to register in more than one league.

7. Can athletes and or coaches carpool to their games or practices?

Carpooling is an activity that increases the risk for COVID-19 transmission and is not recommended at this time. Participants should only travel with members of their immediate household to the facility, activity, or event, even if the two participants are on the same team.

8. Are masks required by coaches even if they are coaching outdoors?

This depends. While outdoors, coaches, trainers, and sport volunteers are not required to wear a mask provided they keep a minimum of 2 metres distance at all times from anyone who is not from their household.  If the coach, trainer, or sport volunteer is unable to consistently keep 2 metres distance from anyone who is not wearing a mask, then Personal Protective Equipment (medical grade mask approved by Health Canada and eye protection) is required. There are no exemptions to this requirement.

9. How can coaches minimize sharing of equipment or gear?

  • Have athletes bring their own equipment if possible, like gloves, balls and helmets.
  • Limit the use of frequently touched surfaces on the field, court or play surface.
  • Instruct all athletes and coaches to bring their own water to minimize use and touching of drinking fountains.
  • Clean and disinfect shared items between use.
  • Don’t share towels, clothing or any items used to wipe your face or hands.
  • Launder shared pinnies/vests between uses.
  • Don’t share food, drink containers (e.g., coolers) and utensils.

10. Are sporting groups required to limit spectators even if the sport is played outdoors?

No. However, this would depend on the level of restriction in place at the time of the event. The Ontario Reopening Plan dictates the total number of participants AND spectators allowed for each Step. It is the responsibility of the facility owner/operator as well as the organizer of the event to adhere to these requirements.

11. What should I do if a coach or participant becomes unwell at their game or practice?

Anyone (participant, staff, coach, volunteer) who becomes unwell while at the facility/during the activity should:

  • Separate themselves (or be instructed to) from others.  They should put on their mask if they are able to.  They must not be permitted to continue to participate and must be directed to go home immediately (if possible, with private transportation, avoiding taxis, ride shares, and public transit).
  • Complete a self-screening again and act on the recommendations provided (e.g. self-isolate, visit a COVID-19 Assessment Centre to be tested, self-monitor for symptoms, contact primary care provider, etc.).  Use the provincial Screening Tools to complete the screening:
  • Use the COVID-19 Worker and Employee screening tool for staff and volunteers.
  • Use the COVID-19 Patron screening tool for participants and anyone who may accompany them.
  • Seek medical attention as required.

12. What should I do if I learn about a participant on my team that tests positive for COVID-19?

  • If there is an individual who is positive with COVID-19 and associated with your team, group or club you may not receive notification from PPH. It will depend on the amount of information we receive from the individual who is confirmed COVID-19 positive.
  • If you do learn of an individual associated with your team, group or club who is COVID-19 positive you should maintain confidentiality of this individual’s personal health information. Ensure this person does not return to the sport or activities until they have received clearance from Peterborough Public Health.
  • Do not attempt to initiate contact tracing or notification of other participants until you consult with public health. We can provide guidance to you and communication to circulate with your participants, if that is deemed necessary.
  • If you learn of 2 or more participants/players diagnosed with COVID-19 within a 14-day interval, please contact Peterborough Public Health ASAP 705- 743-1000 or covid19@peterboroughpublichealth.ca.