Thank you to the BCDS membership and disc golfers in BC for continuing to be dedicated to following the protocols required by the Provincial Health Authority and being great representatives of the sport.
Competitive, organized play continues to be not allowed in the province within the current phase of reopening. We are being asked to keep our activity geared towards community participation and training rather than games and competition.
The BCDS is working with our insurance provider and the discussion of risk mitigation strategies continues.
We can confirm what the next steps will be to get us back to competitive play. First, the BCDS will create a sport-specific Safety Plan using the Return to Sport Guidelines to be released by viaSport in the first week of June. We anticipate this document will be required to include things like:
Q: What types of activities are allowed within the current phase (Phase2)?
A: Low risk activities that can occur with the following public health recommendations in place:
A: Competitive activities are formal, organized games, matches and tournaments between participants where scores are recorded and standings are kept.
Q: When is competition allowed?
A: This will vary from sport to sport. Some sports will be able to introduce in-club play or modified games during this initial phase of re-opening if they deem those activities to be low risk.
Q: Will there be a sport-specific return to sport date, depending on each sport return to play protocol?
A: Each sport will have different dates in which they will resume based on the type of sport, access to facilities, the ability to adapt to Public Health Guidelines and the development of their sport-specific plans.
Q: When will tournaments begin to be sanctioned again?
A: Once the Provincial Heath Order has been lifted.
Q: Why can’t we use the PDGA insurance instead of the BCDS’?
A: The PDGA requires us to provide corroborating documents supporting competitive play is allowed in our region. The expectation at this time is these supporting documents will hinge on approval of the BCDS’ Safety Plan.
Please note that in our current phase (2) of reopening, we’re being asked to stay close to home and avoid any travel between communities that’s not essential. We encourage you to remain active while enjoying the outdoors and facilities that have opened in small groups at a safe distance.
Please feel free to reach out with any questions and help keep your club members informed. We’ll be sure to share any new information as soon as we know.
As you're likely aware, the coordination of a return to competitive play for sports in BC is in flux.
In terms of process, one scenario that’s been proposed is that the BC government agency viaSport, in charge of coordinating return to competitive play, will come up with baseline guidelines. They’ll forward guidelines to sports groups, and organizations like the BCDS will tailor the guidelines to their particular sports. These plans would then return to viaSport, who would forward them to the Office of the Public Health Officer for approval. Once approved, the plans would be administered by the sport’s member clubs.
Corroborated by Steve Ewen's article in the Province May 18, viaSport hasn’t turned over the baseline guidelines to the sports groups yet. There’s no word on when they might be finalized, but BCDS president Craig Sheather has been in discussion with viaSport and the BCDS leadership team is due to meet Monday May 25 for its regular monthly meeting where the development of the provincial plan for disc golf will be discussed.
Weighing on the BCDS as a potential roadblock is the possibility that (per viaSport) “sport-specific plans won’t require government approval, but must be approved by your own board of directors”, which is where insurance issues come into play. As with most insurance underwriters, the BCDS' insurance policy excludes coverage related to communicable diseases and/or pandemics and liability would fall to the BCDS’ directors.
On the bright side, as outlined in B.C.’s Restart Plan, during Phase Two sport activities organized and operated by Provincial Sport Organizations (PSOs) and Disability Sport Organizations (DSOs) can resume in a limited way. Via Ewen: "viaSport is stressing an ability to maintain physical distancing, minimal sharing of equipment and a focus on skill development rather than competition. That suggests that there won’t be games between rival teams in the early phases." For the foreseeable future, sport will be more geared towards community participation and training rather than games and provincial competition.
Rest assured the BCDS board is gathering information, prepared to nimbly submit a plan for return to competitive play if required and in regular discussion with our insurance provider. We promise to keep you posted as soon as we know and update as our plan develops.