Sport Manitoba News: Contact and Physical Distancing in Sport

We have just received the following information regarding contact and physical distancing in sport that we want to share with you.

Dear Mr. Hnatiuk,
Thank you for your questions to Ask Health about contact and sport.
Re: Prolonged contact as defined in the Risk Assessment and Mitigation Tool
It is known that person to person contact that is closer and more prolonged results in a higher risk of COVID-19 virus transmission. Evidence shows that physical distancing lowers the risk of transmission. In a sport or activity where there are multiple close contacts, including accumulation of brief contacts adding up to a greater contact time, there is a greater risk of COVID-19 viral transmission. There is no definable amount of close contact time that can be considered safe or permissible. All options to avoid/reduce close contact should be explored and implemented. If a sport or activity isn’t able to make changes to remove all close contacts then it should implement all possible measures to reduce the risk of viral transmission. The more close contact, the more additional measures that are needed.
Examples of additional measures include:reducing participant group sizes and the number of people they come into close contact with (smaller teams, smaller practices, smaller cohorts of players that remain separated at practices)tournaments that bring multiple teams/players together should be avoidedensure that all participants and spectators are screened for symptoms of COVID-19 and anyone who is ill should not be in attendanceall participants should engage in frequent hand hygiene (alcohol based hand sanitizer or soap and warm water for at least 15 seconds)no sharing of water bottles / foodMaintain 2 m physical distancing between players whenever possible and avoid congregation (i.e. players seated on benches)Cleaning equipment / mats between each useConsider additional equipment such as face shieldsRecord names of participants and keep records for 21 days to allow for contact tracing if neededIt is important for planners and participants to have an understanding of these risks to make informed choices. It is important to review the entire Risk Assessment and Mitigation Tool for Recreation Activities and to follow the other guidelines to reduce risk.
Re: Will phase 4 ease the physical distancing or contact restrictions:
As physical distancing is one of the most powerful tools we have to reduce the risk of COVID-19 virus transmission and spread in Manitoba, it is unlikely that this messaging will change anytime soon.
Thank you for doing your part in reducing the risk of transmission of COVID-19. We hope this provides you further guidance for your organisation.
For up-to-date information on COVID-19 in Manitoba, visit
Population and Public Health Branch
Thank you,

Jeff Hnatiuk | President & CEO
Sport Manitoba