Quebec to allow non-contact, non-team sports like tennis and golf as of May 20

Quebecers who want to get active this summer will be able to take part in a number of outdoor sports and leisure activities, provided they follow a set of guidelines.

Isabelle Charest, the junior minister of education and minister for the status of women announced on Wednesday afternoon that as of May 20, certain non-team, non-contact sports will begin to gradually reopen.

“I encourage the regular practice of outdoor sporting activities, because being able to move is good for our bodies and our minds,” said Charest.

Those sports must fall under a set of guidelines, most notably physical distancing, no sharing of equipment, and no gathering.

She gave a list of examples, which include:

  • cycling
  • track running
  • canoeing, kayaking and other rowing activities
  • climbing
  • kitesurfing, outdoor swimming, fishing, SCUBA diving
  • horseback riding
  • rollerskating, skateboarding

Some sports that are done in pairs are also being permitted, as long as there is distancing -- like tennis and golf, for example.

Quebec's park network SEPAQ will also reopen, said Charest, a former speed skater who competed for Canada at the Winter Olympics. 

She was joined by Richard Masse, a strategic medical advisor with Quebec's public health department.

MONTREALERS INCLUDED

Residents of Montreal, the area hit hardest by COVID-19 in the province, will be allowed to take part in these sports as well, though they are advised not to leave the area.

No one should leave their region to take part in these activities, Masse stressed, adding that it was one of the reasons facilities would be open in the Montreal area.

"We don’t want people to go from one region to another," he said. “We don’t want people (in Montreal) to go play golf in Bromont, for example.”

Charest said the Quebec government has been working closely with sports federations, who will be responsible for setting guidelines for each activity.

Masse said so far there is no plan to reopen public swimming pools, though there could be an announcement at a later date about outdoor pools opening with a strict set of guidelines, including limiting capacity and gatherings.

TEAM SPORTS WILL HAVE TO WAIT

Team sports are being considered but will not be permitted for the time being, said Masse.

Soccer and baseball are off the table for now, though adapted versions of team sports are not out of the question later this summer.

“We’re working really hard with all federations to make sure that we can adapt the sports with the rules and with the guidelines that we have from public health,” said Charest.

“We’re working in phases,” she said, adding that the first phase is individual training. “In a few phases, we’re going to see group training. In that sense, kids may be able to play some kind of sports, but not the way we used to play because we have to apply all the rules and regulations.”

Quebec has already reopened stores, schools and daycare centres outside of the Montreal area, as well as construction and manufacturing across the province.

Stores, schools and daycares in the Montreal area - which has been hit much harder by COVID-19 than the rest of the province - are currently scheduled to reopen May 25, but Quebec Premier Francois Legault has said that date could be pushed back if the situation does not improve.  

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