'So much grey area': B.C.'s latest health order causes confusion, frustration in amateur sports leagues
VANCOUVER -- Amateur sports in B.C.'s Lower Mainland are being curtailed to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Indoor contact sports, such as hockey and boxing, are currently suspended until Nov. 23. For the outdoor sports teams that can continue playing, teams have been barred from travelling outside of their health authority region.
Danny Miller believes his family, and a few others, are suffering an unintended consquence of the public health order.
Miller’s family lives in Vancouver, but his son’s hockey club is in Burnaby, which falls under Fraser Health's jurisdiction. That means the eight-year-old can’t play with his team.
“My son is one of the two people out of 12 on his team who can't go to his practices," he said. "It’s simply not fair. There isn't really a good alternative for us and others in the situation."
Dr. Bonnie Henry said the new rule is intended to prevent COVID-19 from being carried into different communities.
“We know that we bring risk with us," she said on Thursday. "And right now, moving in and out of the whole Lower Mainland is something we don't want people to do."
But Miller said the health order has flaws because teams in each health region can still travel into other communities.
“It doesn't stop people from moving from city to city. Somebody in Burnaby can go to Chilliwack or Abbotsford or Langley, but somebody that lives right on the other side of Boundary Road in Vancouver can't go to Burnaby,” he said.
‘So many contradicting statements’
A youth soccer coach on the Sunshine Coast has concerns about the rules.
Noah Mithrush believes soccer games should also be put on pause, like hockey.
“It’s a full-contact sport. As soon as you step on that field, you're hitting up against other players, you're sweating," she said.
Even if players aren't coughing on each other, they're still "on a field with 22 other people," Mithrush added.
The Sunshine Coast falls under Vancouver Coastal Health, which means Mithrush’s team can still board the ferry and play in Metro Vancouver, which seemingly goes against the province’s recommendation on limiting travel.
“There's so much grey area, and there's so many contradicting statements, that it leaves room for a lot of uncomfortable unknowns,” Mithrush said. “I don't feel comfortable taking the girls over there to play a full-contact sport, and then having them come back, because in my mind I'm having them be exposed.”
The new health order is scheduled to last for two weeks, ending on Nov. 23.
But both Miller and Mithrush said they want to speak out now in case the order is extended.
“The concern is that numbers don't come down and the order isn't rescinded, or worse, expanded. And, you know, we just want to need to voice this now, otherwise, they might not be aware of the issue in 10 days,” Miller said.