Posted: Tuesday, May 18, 2021. 6:08 pm CST.
By Rubén Morales Iglesias: Contact sports will be allowed to play competitive games on August 1 said the Minister of Youth, Sports and E-Governance Kevin Bernard in an exclusive conversation with Breaking Belize News.
“I believe that by 1st of August, contact sports will be able to come back in terms of competition without audience, without spectators,” Bernard said. “However, over the first six months since the date we opened, we are going to ask that there is no audience in any of these events that are held.”
The Sports minister said three months after August 1, his ministry and the Ministry of Health will review the situation to see if spectators can be allowed.
“We have agreed that together we will have to review to see if there was any effect of COVID and if there is an effect then we will have to scale back down to where we started,” he said. “But, should there be no issue, then, we are going to ensure that we can open up back sports gradually with the hope that in 2022 we can get back to where we were pre-Covid.”
Bernard said things have been working out well so far and the sporting associations have been cooperating.
“One of the good things is that we have opened back sports both contact and non-contact but contact sport is limited in terms of training only,” he said. “However, on non-contact sports, we have heard weekly updates since we opened it a few weeks ago. People have been happy that we were able to open the non-contact sports. There are certain tournaments happening, competition happening and so I think it has created a bit of a movement as well, and it allows our athletes to be able to engage in an activity that is positive for them, especially our young people.”
Minister Bernard said the different sporting organizations presented their plans and these were accepted by government after careful consideration and that there has been no negative reaction to the opening of non contact sports for competition and contact sports for training purposes.
“I have not heard any negative effects so far and that’s one of the things why we were a bit reluctant in the beginning to open sports because we wanted to make sure everybody, all organizations had their respective protocols in place,” he said. “I must commend, however, all these associations, all these federations and bodies and groups that have approached the National Sports Council through our Ministry and they have come with their proper plan and they have been adhering to those plans.”
Bernard said he is satisfied the Government did the right move.
“So, as the Minister, I think we did the right step in taking the time to study these plans, working with the Ministry of Health and then we finally were able to open up the sport. For non-contact, of course, there’s competition allowed, but for contact sport, it’s only for training.”
So, if the situation is right and the go-ahead is given on August 1 for contact sports to compete, spectators will not be allowed for three months minimum.
But that all depends on the COVID-19 pandemic situation in Belize.
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