Return to Play: Spectators

On October 14, 2020, Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry spoke about an increase in community exposures connected to the restarting of sports, and she specifically mentioned the issue of public gatherings associated with sports events, in particular numbers of players and spectators. While BC Soccer has specific guidelines for numbers on the field (see Return to Play plan), there are no similar guidelines for spectators, other than safe distancing and good COVID-smarts (i.e. stay home when sick, maintain hand hygiene, wear masks, etc). Dr. Henry did however clarify that the presence of spectators at these events increases the likelihood of virus transmission and exposure and therefore should be discouraged.

At Bays United, our priorities are for player safety and the continuation of soccer through the pandemic. We have challenges enough in managing the ‘rule of 50’ for on field activities and we don’t have the bandwidth to try and manage spectator involvement. For these reasons, we respectfully ask that parents, family and friends not attend practices and games. We understand that there are specific circumstances where parent or guardian participation is necessary, but we ask that this be kept to an absolute minimum. All clubs in Lower Island have similar protocols and we ask that coaches and managers communicate our message to visiting teams and inform parents of other clubs’ policies when playing away.

Finally, Bays is responsible for managing compliance with provincial restrictions on public gatherings and it is the field owners who are the ultimate judge of whether compliance is met or not. We can expect further changes or clarifications to further discourage public gatherings. We will continue to update families on any changes as they occur.

Thank you for your ongoing support and for helping to keep our players and families safe.

Howard McElderry – President, Bays United FC