North Enderby Timber forward Brent Poulsen (left) makes his way around a challenge from Salmon Arm Hideaway Liquor Store Beer Badgers defender Gary Watters during the North Okanagan Soccer League Gibson Cup championship Saturday at MacDonald Park in Vernon. Poulsen scored twice as NET won its second straight Cup title with an 8-1 romp. (Roger Knox - Black Press)

COVID-19: Vernon fields and courts ready for booking

Local sport organizations will soon be able to get back out on the field for limited activities

Local sports fields and courts will be available for limited bookings as of Monday, July 13, in Vernon.

“This is the moment many people have been waiting for,” Mayor Victor Cumming said, Thursday, July 9.

“We know many sport organizations are eager to get back on the field or the court to enjoy a North Okanagan summer outside with friends,” he said. “This is great news, even though our activity is limited to practice or instructional play only, to keep everyone safe.”

The province has entered Phase 3 of its Restart Plan which allows for the return of some outdoor sports, although the viaSport Return to Sport Guidelines still prohibit contact and competitive sports to maintain physical distancing.

To book an outdoor facility in Vernon, local sport organizations will need to develop a Safe Return to Play Plan. Guidelines for these plans have been created by viaSport at the request of the provincial government and have been provided to provincial sport organizations.

“The safety of players, coaches, organizers and our community as a whole is paramount, so these plans must follow viaSport’s guidelines,” Recreation Services director Doug Ross said.

“Before a group can book a field or a court, they must submit a Safe Return to Play Plan to the city that has been approved by their respective local, provincial or national sport organization.”

The City of Vernon has developed Risk Mitigation Plans for local facilities to aid in the phased reintroduction of recreation opportunities. These plans take into account protocols and procedures to keep public facilities and spaces clean and safe for the entire community.

“The city continues to follow the guidelines and directives of senior governments and Recreation Services is continuing its work on planning for reopening of more recreation facilities when it is safe and feasible to do so,” Cumming said.

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