Good evening everyone,
With COVID-19 case numbers on the rise in Nova Scotia, the province announced today that restrictions on physical distancing and gathering limits are returning over the next few weeks.
Starting at 9 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 17, and lasting until at least the new year, the following restrictions impacting hockey will be in place:
- spectators are limited to 50 per cent of a facility’s capacity; spectator limits are also capped at a maximum of 150 people
- a limit of 60 participants indoors and outdoors applies to sports practices, games, and regular league play; physical distancing is not required
- tournaments are not allowed
- children age 11 and younger continue to be restricted from entering Nova Scotia to participate in sports and are also restricted from participating in them outside Nova Scotia
There are also new recommendations for close contacts of positive COVID-19 cases, including those who are fully-vaccinated. We detail those below.
REGULAR LEAGUE PLAY
We have clarified with Public Health that regular league play refers to the current league that your team is playing in. This includes provincial leagues.
On the ice, masks are not required during practices, training sessions, and games. Off the ice, masks are required everywhere (especially in the dressing room).
It is extremely important that you continue to wear your mask when you are not on the ice.
Please note that coaches and instructors who work with more than one group must wear a mask at all times while inside the facility (including while on the ice).
As a result of the recent outbreak in Nova Scotia, all close contacts of positive COVID-19 cases, including those who are fully-vaccinated, now need to isolate until they have a negative result from a lab-based (PCR) test. The lab test should be performed at least 72 hours after the exposure.
In a hockey context, if two teams play a game within 48 hours of a positive exposure involving a player or coach on either team (meaning a player or coach on one of the teams tests positive for COVID-19 within 48 hours of the game), both teams (as well as the officials) would be considered close contacts. We recognize this is not spelled out clearly on the Public Health website but we have worked with Public Health to determine that this is what they mean.
Due to increased testing and rising positive cases, we are aware that Public Health may be delayed when it comes to reaching out to close contacts. We have seen examples of hockey associations and teams being proactive and abundantly cautious in terms of pausing activities after potential exposures. We commend these groups for prioritizing the safety of their members and wider communities.
For more information on what to do if you are a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case, please click here.
If you have any questions about any of this or about a potential exposure, we encourage you to continue to follow the communication flow in the Rebound Plan 2.0.
To help curb the spread of COVID-19, Public Health is also strongly recommending regular rapid testing for all Nova Scotians. Learn more here.
Dr. Strang will be meeting with the sport sector tomorrow. We will take part in those discussions and will pass along any updates that come out of that meeting.
For now, please continue to be vigilant. It is vital that we do not become complacent. Please continue to wear your mask in the dressing room and everywhere else in the arena when you are not on the ice. Wash your hands often. Do not come to the rink if you are feeling unwell. Follow the Rebound Plan 2.0.
Thank you for all that you do for hockey.
Hockey Nova Scotia
Hockey Nova Scotia
Communications & Special Events Director
Hockey Nova Scotia
259 Commodore Drive
Dartmouth, NS, B3B 0M1