British Columbians will be able to get back to playing sports sooner, thanks to a new ministerial order.

The province announced this afternoon that it’s taking steps to protect amateur sports organizations from COVID-19 liabilities, provided they comply with public health orders and provincial sport guidelines.

The order protects amateur sports organizations and their representatives from damages resulting, directly or indirectly, from COVID-19 for amateur sports.

For example, a sports organization or its representatives will not be liable for a (player or coach? suggestion) participant in their sports program being exposed to COVID-19 if they choose to participate.

Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture says the province wants people to get involved with local sports as soon as possible, but in a safe manner.

“We want to make sure children and their families can get the benefits of physical activity and get back to playing the sports they love,” Beare said.

“Many sports organizations are run by volunteers who need to make sure they are protected for risks related to COVID-19. This order will help cover that risk so people can safely get back to playing sports sooner in their communities.”

The liability protection would be in place as long as they follow applicable guidance, such as viaSport’s Return to Sport protocols and public-health guidance on how to prevent the spread of the virus.

That guidance includes encouraging proper handwashing, regular disinfecting, limiting shared equipment, physical distancing measures and the use of wellness questionnaires and health self-assessment tools.

viaSport CEO Charlene Krepiakevich says with the new change people will soon be able to get back to playing the sports they love.

“This coordinated response to address concerns around volunteer and staff liability means that these not-for-profit organizations can focus on delivering safe, high-quality sports experiences for the people in their communities.”