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Photograph: Eduardo Balderas / Unsplash

What do socially distanced team sports, yoga and public pools look like when they are social distanced?

Team sports practices, public pools and group activities are now allowed in Quebec—but how can they be socially distanced?

By JP Karwacki
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Following an announcement on June 4 by Quebec's Minister for Education, Leisure, and Sports Isabelle Charest, several outdoor activities will be able to resume today in the province: Team sports like soccer, baseball or hockey may resume so long as they occur outside, and if they follow the directives laid out by the public health. This announcement extends to outdoor activities like yoga and pools that are open to the public.

When it comes to team sports, this means that they can only take place in the form of training for the time being, so long as there's no human contact. "Some sports are more easily adaptable than others," Minister Charest said during the June 4 briefing, noting that "baseball, among other (sports), is more easily adaptable than soccer or basketball."

So what do socially distanced sports activities look like? In a guide published by the Ministry of Education, best practices are laid in three stages: Before, during and after. 

Before any group activity or sport training takes place, the government places emphasis on avoiding making unnecessary trips, and that players should go directly to and from their place of practice.

During activities, participants should remain two metres apart from one another, avoid touching their faces, and try to wash their hands as frequently as possible (especially if it's a sport that involves tossing around a ball by hand); no one should share equipment; activities should limit the amount of personal equipment they bring to training beyond the bare necessities; and, as usual, face masks are not required but encouraged.

Once an activity is finished, head directly home, avoid taking a shower on site and immediately wash your clothes at home after use. 

If you or someone you know is a coach or instructor who is looking for even more guidance on the subject, you should consult the CNESST's daily checklist and other information concerning prevention measures for those working in leisure, sport and outdoor activities.

As for when Montrealers might be able to watch anything competitive between teams? According to the province, announcements will come at a later date. "Local games and competitions could resume towards the end of June, depending on the evolution of the situation," reads the government's page on the gradual resumption of activities.

The expansion of outdoor activities now joins the growing list of outdoor sports currently allowed in Quebec: Non-contact sports like golf, tennis, and cycling were able to resume on May 20, as well as open-water swimming, jogging, cycling, hiking, rock-climbing, kayaking and canoeing.

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