June 9th, 2020

Based on Premier Doug Ford’s June 8th, 2020 announcement that Phase 2 Re-Opening of Ontario would allow (in certain Public Health regions) for up to 10 people to gather in a physically distanced manner; I reached out to my local Public Health Authority to ask if this would allow for non-contact martial arts classes to be held in a park.

The Middlesex-London Health Unit responded to my email inquiry, and confirmed their understanding that this would be acceptable.  They also provided some guidelines to encourage further safe practice (details below).  Our club is located in South Western Ontario.  Your region may have different requirements.

If you are planning on re-initiating your martial arts classes you are strongly advised to confirm your approach with your local Public Health Authority and gain their permission and guidelines before holding any classes outdoors.  Here is the list of regions and their Public Health Authorities that are allowed to enter Phase 2 re-opening: https://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2020/06/ontario-permits-more-businesses-and-services-to-reopen-in-the-coming-days.html

Next Steps

There is still a lot of work to be completed before students are permitted to return to training inside a martial arts club.  Phase 2 and Phase 3 requirements for this type of practice are evolving and changing regularly based on COVID-19’s changing pandemic landscape.  Here are the next steps Martial Arts Club Owners and Practitioners should consider:

  • Even with training outdoors, safety protocols must be in place.  This includes student health screening, hand sanitizers, social distancing, masks etc.  If you are planning to hold these types of classes, make sure you define and communicate your protocols for your instructors and students.
  • Eventually you will be able to return to training in a martial arts club or training center.  Be prepared.  Do not wait for the o.k. and then start your safety protocol.  Research today and begin the required changes immediately to be prepared to re-open.
  • Keep informed and up-to-date with the latest news and information.

My Initial Email Inquiry on June 8th:

In southwest middlesex am I allowed to hold a physically distanced and non contact martial arts class in a park if I have less than 10 people participating?

The Middlesex-London Health Unit Response on June 9th:

Hello Randy,

Thank you for your email.  Our apologies for the delay as we have been experiencing a large volume of email and phone calls.

Given that the restrictions on social gatherings will increase to 10 people on Friday, and that you will be conducting your class outdoors with the appropriate physical distance between your students (and that is it a non-contact sport), we believe that your class should meet the regulations that will be in place by the end of the week.

Having said that, we strongly recommend that you advise your students not to attend the class if they are feeling unwell or have any of the symptoms described in this screening tool:

http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/pro/programs/publichealth/coronavirus/docs/2019_patient_screening_guidance.pdf  

We also recommend that you provide hand sanitizer for the students to use before and after the class to ensure proper hand hygiene precautions are being performed.

 

The COVID-19 pandemic is evolving rapidly. This guidance is subject to change. Please visit the Middlesex-London Health Unit website at https://www.healthunit.com/news/novel-coronavirus regularly for updates and additional guidance.

 

You can also visit our website at www.healthunit.com for the latest information and recommendations related to COVID-19, including the COVID-19 Summary of Public Health Measures which provides a summary of the various public health measures that have been implemented to prevent and mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

 

If you have questions about symptoms or have returned from travel outside of Canada, please contact the Health Unit COVID-19 Hotline at 519-663-5317.

Warm regards,

Covid-19 Hotline Team 

Middlesex-London Health Unit

Suite 110, 355 Wellington St., London, N6A 3N7

519-663-5317