Sport reverts to Stage 1 of Return to Play guidance
The sporting calendar has been dealt a further setback with the news that the Government’s Return to Play guidance has reverted to Stage 1 effective immediately.
In the wake of a recent spike in positive cases, a number of tougher Covid-19 restrictions were implemented over the weekend in an attempt to halt the spread of the deadlier UK variant of the virus.
This is the second regressive change to the Return to Play guidance inside a week.
“It is heartbreaking to find ourselves here again, forced to adjust one of the very things that bring us mental and physical wellbeing during such trying times,” Ernest Peets, the Minister of Youth, Culture and Sport, said.
“However, I ask that we all co-operate and follow the advice not to mix households, as that is powering this current outbreak. We are a resilient people and we can get through this.
“Sport is a vital part of Bermuda's soul and I know we can find alternatives until this outbreak is under control. Help stop the spread and avoid being in close contact others outside your household bubble."
The move to revert to Stage 1 of the guidance applies only to outdoor sport as gyms and all indoor recreational facilities must remain closed under the public health emergency measures.
While Stage 1 activities such as outdoor individual training within the guidelines are permitted, and in fact encouraged, any activity that causes the mixing of households needs to be avoided as recommended by the Minister of Health.
The guidelines of the phase also instruct that there must be no contact during exercise and individuals must observe social distancing and practise mask wearing except during physical exertion.
The move comes as another significant blow to sport, with many edging towards a full return to action within the guidance — which for most was in its penultimate phase of a four-stage plan — as little as two weeks ago.
Among the sports to have already been affected, the Bermuda Bicycle Association’s road racing season has been halted, while another non-contact sport, swimming, has had all activity at the National Sports Centre shut down because of the restrictions.
The Bermuda Rugby Football Union was also forced to stop all activity last week, while registration for the Bermuda Day Half Marathon Derby has been put back a month to May 1 to give organisers more time to assess the situation.
The Bermuda Volleyball Association was forced to cancel three major tournaments, while the popular Kappa Classic youth football tournament was cancelled for the second successive year.