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Provincial Health Order affecting the Lower Mainland & Fraser Valley

November 12, 2020

This bulletin is an update to the bulletin sent November 9th, 2020. Understanding this new Provincial Health Order has created confusion in interpretation at all governing levels including viaSport. Swim BC is attempting to communicate in a timely and accurate manner given the immediacy of the PHO.  Once again, we received new information and interpretations from viaSport last night.  The purpose of this memo is to present this new information to the affected members of Swim BC in a timely fashion.  viaSport and Swim BC thank everyone for their patience as we navigate the many grey areas.

The Order and what it means to swimming:

The Order States:
“No person or municipality may provide or host and no person may participate in an indoor sport unless the sport involves no physical contact between the participants.”


  • Indoor sports can only conduct physically distanced activities. This does not mean all indoor sports are in Phase 2. Some Phase 3 activities may be possible as long as physical distance can be maintained along with other safety measures that we have implemented in return to sport (e.g., increased cleaning protocols). It does mean that the cohort concept is suspended, swimmers must maintain physical distancing while training. Lane density during training must accommodate 2m physical distancing at all times.

The Order States:
“No person may attend as a spectator at an indoor sport activity unless this is necessary to provide care to a participant.”


  • We understand that “unless necessary to provide care to a participant” can be interpreted many ways. viaSport is working with public health to provide more clarity.

The Order States:
“No person may travel to or from the affected area or between the regions of the Fraser Health Authority and the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority for any sport related activity, including practice, training, games or tournaments, unless they are an identified by Canadian Sports Institute Pacific as a high performance athlete affiliated with an accredited provincial or national sports organization and are already training in the affected area and subject to the safety guidelines of their provincial sports organization.”


  • The Order now clearly states that travel is not permitted for any sport activities. However, high performance athletes and their coaches are permitted to travel to, from and between the Fraser and Vancouver Coastal Health regions. High performance athletes are individuals that have been identified to a targeted athlete list with Canadian Sport Institute Pacific by their PSO or NSO.

The Order States:
“No person or municipality may provide or host and no person may participate in a group indoor fitness activity until guidelines for group indoor fitness activities have been approved by the provincial health officer and the person or municipality who provides or hosts the activity has submitted an updated safety plan in accordance with those guidelines with respect to the activity to the Medical Health Officer and the safety plan has been approved. Once a safety plan has been approved, it must be posted in a place easily visible to participants.”

What it means:

  • Group indoor fitness activities (e.g., dance, spin, etc.) will need to have an approved plan before they are able to reopen and operate again. This Order is NOT a requirement for sport / swimming. viaSport indicates that some sport organizations received conflicting information directly from health officials. Now that the Order has been made available in writing, viaSport will work with health agencies to improve the interpretations and communication.

We know there will be more questions arising as you develop and refine your swimming-specific procedures based on the details of the new Order. Swim BC will continue to work with viaSport to maintain an aligned voice.

viaSport will continue to work with the Sport Branch and Public Health to provide updates based on further direction and/or any new information that may arise. If you have any issues in interpreting this memo, please do not hesitate to contact Swim BC.

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