Ontario’s York Region Not Moving to Phase 3 on Friday : What Impact on the MLCC-6-a Side?

As a “heads-up” for some of those organizing or hoping to play in the MLCC-6-a-side cricket this coming weekend, Ontario’s York Region (where Maple Leaf Cricket Club is located) together with the Greater Toronto Area is not being moved to Phase 3 of the Ontario Covid-19 recovery plan on Friday (July 17, 2020). So the Ontario Phase 2 limit for an “outdoor gathering” will remain at 10 for York Region with appropriate social or physical distancing.

Under these circumstances perhaps it may mean there could only be a 4-a-side cricket match with 1 umpire at the ground at one time. Possibly there may be a parks and open recreational spaces provision to allow four such matches to be taking place in a public park with multiple team sports fields or at a large recreation ground. I do not know, but it is information that should be known and understood by whoever is planning to host a multiple teams event.

By contrast, even during Ontario Phase 2, it seems more than 10 people would be allowed to be working on the grounds as people working are not bound by the limit for outdoor gatherings. Some people have to work close together, as can be seen around various road construction activities in Toronto on a day-to-day basis.

For Ontario regions moving into Phase 3 on Friday there are new limits of 50 people for an indoor event and 100 for an outdoor event, as stated within the Reopening the Province Stage 3 presentation:


There are mentions of sport within the guidance document, including a note that contact sports are not currently allowed. There is mention of a limit of 50 for a sports league, which might be a vision for one soccer, field hockey or even cricket game to be allowed on a particular playing field or at a park. But there seems to be limited detail beyond the new Stage 3 reopening presentation, so those contemplating organizing a cricket game or tournament should plan and tread very carefully.

Presumably (a dangerous word for me to use) more specifics about Ontario Phase 3 re-opening will be issued before Friday, which does not leave much time.

The media release text about Monday’s announcement by the Ontario Premier Doug Ford about Phase 3 re-opening includes some very general terms that need clarification in my opinion but I am not planning to run any sports tournament and, do not have a current “need to know” the underlying detail, should it exist or emerge before Friday.

Caveat Emptor (Organizers, Participants aka “Buyer Beware”)

The introductory text about increasing the scope and increasing gathering limits for sports related matters in one Ontario notice included the following:

“Based on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other public health experts, gathering limits apply to higher risk settings and activities where people congregate, including:”

“All organized or spontaneous indoor and outdoor events and social gatherings (e.g., parties, fundraisers, fairs, wedding receptions, funeral receptions)”

“Facilities for sports and recreational fitness activities (e.g., gyms, fitness studios)”

“Recreational attractions, courses and instruction (e.g., fitness classes, music lessons, tutoring)”

“Sporting and racing events”

“Indoor gathering limits apply to events that are fully or partially indoors. Indoor events and gatherings cannot be combined with an outdoor event or gathering to increase the applicable gathering size.”

Legal Meaning or Interpretation in Ontario?

I looked though various documents on the Premier of Ontario’s Website and on the Government of Ontario website responsible for sports last night. I would not be willing to put any specific meaning on general words such as “sports/sporting” “facilities/activities” or “recreational attractions”. But those at the helm of Cricket Ontario are, presumably, working with the Ministry in updating return to play plans for cricket, so those persons should be able to help. Some on the Board of the Toronto and District Cricket Association should be more up to date than me about Cricket Ontario’s return to play plans as they are also on the Cricket Ontario Board, while some are in the higher stratosphere of the Cricket Canada board.

The page about “Team Sports and Live Sporting Events” (page 19) in the Ontario Phase 3 presentation published on Monday (July 13, 2020) states the following:

“• Prolonged or deliberate contact while playing sports is not permitted.
• Team sports in which body contact between players is either an integral component of
the sport or commonly occurs while engaged in the sport (e.g., wrestling, judo) are not
yet permitted, unless the approach can be modified to prevent prolonged or deliberate
physical contact.
• Amateur and recreational sports leagues may resume so long as they do not allow
prolonged or deliberate physical contact between players or if they have modifications
to avoid physical contact between players.
• Leagues must contain no more than 50 participants total. If participants in a league
exceed 50, the league may divide into smaller groups of no more than 50. Players are
not yet permitted to play against players outside of their league or group.
• Spectators at all sporting events, including professional sports, will be subject to
gathering limits and physical distancing measures, with assigned seating where possible.”

A Thought

The item “ Leagues must contain no more than 50 participants total. If participants in a league
exceed 50, the league may divide into smaller groups of no more than 50. Players are
not yet permitted to play against players outside of their league or group” make me wonder about the extent of awareness for team sports.

Take Care!

Caution with health includes caution with return to play, which must be very frustrating for those who have missed out on about half a cricket season, so far. Perhaps a spontaneous 4-a-side cricket game or two would meet legal and regulatory standards for Ontario Regions that will still be in Phase 2 this coming weekend? But that may depend on what local city, municipal or “regional” policies have been or are being adopted by the likes of Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Markham, Richmond Hill, King City or York Region.

So, I end with no personal conclusion about the opening question: “What Impact on the MLCC-6-a Side?”

Eddie Norfolk
14 July 2020

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