To: Our Valued Members
We continue to monitor and evaluate all new developments concerning COVID-19 in our Province.
As a Member of Softball Ontario and Softball Canada, today we received an important email from the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries advising us that the Government of Ontario is moving forward with the first stage of reopening the province with key public health measures in place, which includes an easing of restrictions on facilities for outdoor sports and activities, including ball diamonds. The Ministry is aware that there have been questions regarding what the changes mean to the sport sector and they wanted to provide us with information we need to determine the next steps for the Association, and we are providing you with that information.
They advised that an amendment to the Emergency Order allows for the opening and controlled use of sporting facilities, with the exception of pools, that are being used by one or more of the following organizations, leagues or clubs to train amateur or professional athletes or to run amateur or professional athletic competitions:
i) A national sport organization funded by Sport Canada or a member club of such an organization.
ii) A provincial sport or multi-sport organization recognized by the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries or a member club of such an organization.
iii) A professional sport league or a member of such a league.
The amendment also outlines specific regulations that must be followed by every person, facility and organization that chooses to return to sport, including those who are permitted to use the facility, physical distancing requirements, and the conducting of activities in accordance with rules and policies of the applicable organizations established to enable a safe return to the sport.
The Ministry advised that National Sport Organizations, Provincial Sport Organizations, and professional sport leagues must establish rules and policies that will enable the safe return to sport before their sport resumes. As you may know, SPO has been working diligently to draft a Strategic Plan for Return to Play in order to assist our Members with their ability to comply with all necessary regulations and requirements whenever a return to play is possible. That Strategic Plan can be found on our website at slopitch.org.
The Ministry further advised that ultimately, it is up to each sport organization or club to determine whether they can reopen under the required conditions as set out by the Emergency Order. (For reference, a list of frequently asked questions was also provided. You can view those questions and answers HERE.)
In closing, they reminded us that as Ontario gradually reopens, it is more important than ever to follow public health advice, that the government will proceed cautiously and in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, and that Ontario is committed to ensuring our athletes play safe when it is safe to play.
We share that commitment to all of our Members, our Staff and Volunteers, and their loved ones. We will continue to provide updates to you as new information becomes available.
As always, if you have any questions, or require further information, please visit our website at slopitch.org, where we have added a dedicated area for COVID-19 Updates, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yours in slo-pitch,
Tom Buchan, CEO