The B.C. government has passed a cabinet order protecting amateur sports organizations from COVID-19-related liability as they resume activities, and endorsed the Vancouver Canucks bid to be a hub city for NHL games this summer.
Premier John Horgan told reporters June 10 that some B.C. amateur sports organizations have been refused insurance, and the provincial order protects the estimated 800,000 youth and adult volunteers from lawsuits arising from COVID-19 exposure.
Horgan also announced that provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has modified her public health order to approve the Vancouver Canucks plan to host teams for a modified playoff series this summer. The 14-day quarantine for U.S. visitors will not change, but Henry has allowed teams to be treated as a family-like “bubble” to allow them to travel from specified hotels to Rogers Arena. Edmonton and other cities are vying for the chance to be the western and eastern hub teams for an expanded playoff round.
“I’m going to be on my couch watching the games regardless, whether they’re in Vegas or Vancouver,” Horgan said.
Horgan said softball, soccer and other groups have been hard at work getting ready. The cabinet order applies to 72 provincial sport organizations and more than 4,100 local sport groups.
“Of course all of these organizations have to follow public health directions, and I know they will. They’re very anxious to do so,” Horgan said. “Various sectors have already approved their back-to-play plans, and I know that minor soccer for example should be up and running as of June 12.”
The B.C. cabinet has extended its state of emergency for another two weeks, as required by legislation to make emergency powers over transportation and other key functions. The state of emergency was declared March 18 to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, becoming the longest-ever emergency period in late May, surpassing the 2017 forest fire season.
A public health emergency was declared the same day by provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, ordering pubs and personal services business closed.