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New COVID-19 restrictions suspends sports in HRM

Premier Stephen McNeil listens as Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, speaks at a COVID-19 news briefing Friday, Nov. 20, 2020.
Premier Stephen McNeil listens as Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, speaks at a COVID-19 news briefing. COMMUNICATIONS NOVA SCOTIA

Halifax Mooseheads postpone five more games

Dartmouth’s quest for its first provincial boys’ high school volleyball title in over 30 years will have to wait.

With Nova Scotia reporting 37 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, the Department of Health and Wellness announced new restrictions that will come into effect Thursday morning and continue for at least two weeks.

Among the restrictions is that organized sport and recreation within the western and central areas of the Halifax Regional Municipality are paused. That area is defined as HRM from Hubbards to and including Porters Lake and to the communities of Elmsdale and Mount Uniacke.

“We are stopping any organized sports, recreation and athletic activities. That includes teams travelling into and out of the Halifax area,” Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health said at a news conference Tuesday.

“So, if you’re a hockey team based in Halifax, there’s no practices, no games. If you’re planning to go to a tournament in Cape Breton this weekend, I’m sorry, you’re staying home. If there are teams from outside of HRM that were planning to come to HRM for a game or tournament, you can no longer do that for at least the next two weeks.

“We're not shutting down sports outside of HRM. But any sport-related travel has to be close to home.”

The Spartans, the Capital Region boys’ volleyball champions, were scheduled to travel to either Truro or the Annapolis Valley for the NSSAF provincial championship on the weekend of Dec. 4-5. But that, of course, won’t happen.

Anton Berry, athletic director at Dartmouth High, hopes provincials will be able to take place before schools break for the holidays.

“What I’m hoping for is that we can have a provincial final before Christmas break,” Berry said on Tuesday afternoon. “Everything is halted for two weeks. Hopefully, there’s enough of a window before Christmas to get in the provincial final.”

We are stopping any organized sports, recreation and athletic activities. That includes teams travelling into and out of the Halifax area.

Later on Tuesday, the Halifax Mooseheads announced they were postponing five games which were scheduled up to midnight Dec. 9, the restrictions deadline if they are not extended beyond two weeks.

The Mooseheads – which had already suspended operations after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19 and postponed their home games last Saturday and this Wednesday – were slated to visit the Moncton Wildcats on Friday and the Saint John Sea Dogs on Sunday, host Moncton on Dec. 4, play at the Charlottetown Islanders on Dec. 6 and entertain the Cape Breton Eagles on Dec. 9.

Sport Nova Scotia issued a statement following Tuesday’s briefing with Dr. Strang and Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil.

“During this time period people residing in the impacted zone will not be permitted to travel outside the zone to take part in any sport activities,” the SNS statement read. “This would include anyone residing in the zone who may participate on a team/group that is outside the zone.

“For those living outside of the impacted zone, sport activities can continue while continuing to pay close attention to the public health guidelines. However, you should not leave your zone for a sport activity, so for example if you live in Cape Breton you should not travel to the South Shore for a sport activity.”

Berry, who also serves as coordinator of the metro high school basketball league, will also be busy revamping that schedule. The league was scheduled to open on Dec. 7.

“We’ll probably have to push everything until after Christmas,” Berry said. “I’ll reach out to some of my AD peers tomorrow morning and then make a decision. At the end of the day, I don’t think we’ll be playing any more basketball in 2020.”

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