The P.E.I. 55+ Winter Games scheduled for February in Cornwall have been cancelled due to the ongoing pandemic.
Kim Knight Picketts, president of the P.E.I. 55+ Games Society, and Cornwall Mayor Minerva McCourt made the announcement in a joint news release.
“Given the ongoing information about COVID, the risk to seniors and the uncertain future about physical distancing, it would be irresponsible to bring this group together in close proximity in order to play these Games,” said Knight Picketts, who added that although the arrival of a vaccine is welcomed news, it will not be soon enough to allow for an event of this nature to proceed safely.
Another concern was timing, as planning for the games needs to be happening now, including having a town administrative person to help with various aspects of the Games and naming chairpersons and volunteers. With the current COVID-19 situation, it is not possible to meet regularly and count on various venues being available,
While it is disappointing not to have the event in her town in 2021, McCourt says this is the responsible decision to make.
“While the municipality was certainly looking forward to welcoming so many 55-plus competitors this winter, this is not the time to bring people together for large gatherings. We would prefer to have everyone stay safe and are looking forward to seeing people in our venues in the winter of 2022.”
The No. 1 priority has to be safety when it comes to hosting events.
“COVID-19 continues to be a major health concern in our province and across the country,” she said. “We need to do everything we can to keep our population safe.”
The town has committed to hosting the P.E.I. 55+ Winter Games in the winter of 2022, with a date to be announced. The P.E.I. 55+ Games board of directors has unanimously approved this decision.
The P.E.I. 55+ Games serve as a qualifier for the Canada 55+ Games, which has also altered its schedule due to the pandemic. The next national event will be held Aug. 22-26, 2022, in Kamloops, B.C.