On Monday morning, Ontario’s Sports Minister Lisa MacLeod held a press conference in which she laid out an accelerated path to return to play for 18 leagues in 6 different sports, including the CFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, AHL, NBA G League, and many more.
Some key features of this framework include traveling in quarantine for 7 days, cohorting, covid testing/screening, social distancing and requiring masks, dedicated facilities and venues, cleansing and disinfecting protocols, travel and transportation protocols, accommodations on food and beverage protocols, limited staffing and volunteering, and more.
MacLeod mentions they are still working with the Chief Medical Officer of Health to determine what exactly fans in stands will look like for both sports and entertainment. They will continue to update the public as they monitor the effects of entering Phase 2 and 3 of the reopening plan.
To be clear, fans are currently no closer to getting into stands in Ontario, but teams in the province can now operate and practice in their facilities and eventually get into games via the cohorting once the Chief Medical Officer makes a recommendation and the Cabinet approves it. MacLeod believes we’re at a point where great conversations about fans in stands have been and will continue to occur. She mentions the idea today is to accelerate a return to play so these leagues can have more certainty in planning for the remainder of the year.
When asked about the Ti-Cats, RedBlacks, and Argos, holding training camp when they are planning in July, MacLeod stated,
“They just would have to meet the key feature of the framework which includes local support, so the local public health unit would have to sign off in Hamilton, Ottawa, & Toronto. We’d have to make sure they put in place strict travel and quarantine rules of 7 days isolation, they’d have to cohort, essentially adopt many of the practices that the NHL and AHL had to in order for there accelerated return to play.”
MacLeod added that higher-ups from all CFL teams and many other organizations in Ontario have been involved in discussions of these return to play plans and have been briefed on the framework already. It will be up to the teams to implement this framework, but MacLeod is confident they will meet the standards because of their involvement in determining them.
View Full Press Conference Here: Lisa MacLeod: “Return to Play Announcement” (pscp.tv)