COVID Updates

Latest update: March 10, 2022

Dr. Henry announced that as of 12:01am Friday March 11th, the Face Covering Order will be repealed. Masking will no longer be a requirement in indoor public spaces, including work spaces. As you know, masking outdoors was never a PHO requirement.

In addition, on April 8th at 12:01am the Proof of Vaccination requirement will be lifted, as well as the requirement for COVID-19 safety plans (they will revert to the communicable disease plans).

The provincial government’s decision is based on the high vaccination rate, lowering of the transmission rate, lower ICU and hospital admissions, and decreased severity of disease for the vaccinated who do get infected. Therefore, masks are no longer required in any venue. This will include schools.

We understand that this return to a mask-free environment may take some time for adjustment as people step into this transition phase at different paces. Employers and businesses may continue to require mask wearing, but a PHO or WorkSafe requirement is no longer in place. Notice of the PoV repeal timeline will enable our sector to prepare.

Dr. Henry noted that we will remain in the pandemic phase for the year ahead as our health leaders worldwide gain a thorough understanding of seasonality and mutations. We may need to return to some public health measures in the future.


Update: February 15, 2022

Indoor and outdoor gathering restrictions will be lifted February 16th at 11:59pm (the last minute of the day). 

Remaining in place are the mask mandate for indoor public spaces, Proof of Vaccine (PoV), and COVID19 safety plans. 

As of February 16th at 11:59pm, the following will have restrictions removed:

  • Recreation programs, fitness, aquatics, rinks, tournaments – return to full capacity, no physical distancing, no administrative barriers, no spectator restrictions (PoV and masking are still required).
  • Indoor organized gatherings (ex: receptions, parties) return to full capacity, no requirement to remain seated or maintain physical distance, and all may dance (PoV and masking are still required).
  • Indoor ticketed seated events (ex: sports, theatre) returns to 100% capacity, no requirement to remain seated (PoV and masking are still required).
  • Outdoor organized gatherings return to 100% capacity.

PoV and mask requirements will be re-evaluated on March 15 (prior to Spring Break) and April 12 (prior to Easter). 

Update: January 19, 2022

The Ministry of Health’s (BCCDC) Indoor Exercise, Fitness, & Dance Class Facility COVID-19 Guidance document is now available and provides more details on what is required with the reopening of facilities and services.

Some notable restrictions mentioned in the new guidance document, in addition to what was noted in the January 18, 2022 update (below), include:

  • All group fitness and exercise classes have a capacity limit of 25 people, regardless of the enormity of the space,
  • 2m recommendation between patrons while exercising,
  • Instructors do not need to wear a mask when exercising (e.g. leading a group fitness class) although it is recommended,
  • All individuals, including personal trainers and instructors, must wear masks when not exercising.

Update: January 18, 2022

Fitness facilities may re-open on January 20th for both individual and group fitness.

There will be some restrictions similar to those required in the May 28, 2021 Order which was in effect until July 1, 2021.

Full details are within a Guidance document to be posted on the Government site, along with the revised G&E Order.

Generally, these restrictions will involve:

  • Occupancy limits in fitness spaces based on per person at 7m2 of unencumbered space (2.5m between people)
  • Pre-bookings for drop-in individual fitness where operationally possible
  • A time gap between classes for ventilation
  • Maintaining a required distance between instructor/trainer and patron(s)
  • Masking encouraged but not required during exercise; mandatory when not exercising
  • Allowing people to stay home when sick, including not charging a fee to those who can’t come in

Other restrictions contained within the December 22 Order remain in place for tournaments, restaurants, night clubs/bars, and the 50% capacity limit on indoor seated events. These will be revisited on February 16th.

Use of proof of vaccine cards will be extended for a few more months since "it was proven to be effective in decreasing spread and increasing public confidence." The PHO is reviewing the program.

Update: December 21, 2021

As of midnight December 22, 2021 until January 18, 2022:

  • All gyms, fitness centres, dance studios must close.
  • Adult indoor individual and group fitness or exercise activities are not allowed. For example:
    • Working out at a gym
    • Participating in low or high intensity group exercise or fitness classes, including yoga, barre, CrossFit, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and weight training
    • Participating in dance classes at a dance studio
  • The exercise and fitness activities that can continue include:
  • Indoor Organized Gatherings:
    • Indoor Organized Gatherings of any size are not allowed. Examples include: sponsored or ticketed parties, celebrations, weddings and funeral receptions
  • Outdoor Organized Gatherings:
    • Outdoor organized seated gatherings can have a capacity of 5,000 people or 50% capacity, whichever is greater.
      • Venues must scan proof of vaccination QR codes for entry
      • Everyone must wear a mask indoors
      • Dancing is not permitted. All spectators must be seated
  • Indoor Events at Venues
    • Indoor events at venues can only have 50% capacity, no matter the size. Examples include: concerts, theatres, dance performances, sports events, movies, lectures, presentations and workshops, sponsored or ticketed events
    • Everyone must be fully vaccinated to attend

Proof of Vaccine applies to indoor activities only, outdoor activities continue to be without a vaccine requirement.

For complete information, view the following resources:

Update: December 17, 2021

BCRPA's Proof of Vaccination (PoV) Quick Reference Guide has been updated to reflect recent announcements and changes to the BC Public Health Officer's Gatherings & Events Order.


Update: October 1, 2021

BCRPA's Proof of Vaccination (PoV) Quick Reference Guide was formally approved by BC's Public Health Officer (PHO) on September 28.

The PHO also provided the following point of clarification regarding child and youth exemptions:

Children and Youth under 22 years of age are only exempt from Proof of Vaccination when participating in a “Program for Children and Youth.” 

  • This exemption is for programs primarily intended for children and youth, not adult programs that youth 12-21 years of age might choose to attend. For example, adult recreation sport would not be considered a “program for children and youth.” 

Interior Health, Fraser East and Northern Health have temporary Gathering and Event restrictions in place. For full details, please refer to the individual regional orders.


Update: August 30, 2021

The PHO has announced two new measures that affect our sector. The first is a new Proof of Vaccination, the second is a return to indoor masking.

Both of these measures are intended to keep our society safer and also to message to British Columbians to get vaccinated.

At the time of this posting, details on both are still being worked out by the PHO and Ministry of Health; below is what is known at this time.

Proof of Vaccination

The BC Vaccine Card affects indoor recreation and fitness facilities. 

The card will take effect on September 13 and card holders will need to have had at least one vaccine dose by that time to gain entrance to recreation spaces. On October 24th the vaccine requirement for entrance will change to two vaccines.

This new measure will be in place until at least January 31, 2022.

Vaccine Card requirements (known at time of writing):

  • A vaccine card and proof of ID will be required for indoor recreational and social activities
  • Included in the indoor restriction are:
    • Indoor fitness centres/gyms
    • Indoor recreation facilities including pools and arenas
    • Organized indoor events (e.g. weddings, parties, conferences, meetings, workshops)
    • Organized indoor group and individual recreational classes and activities
    • There are no exemptions for people unable to receive the vaccine for health or religious reasons

Vaccine Card Order exemptions:

  • Children under 12 whose accompanying adults have been vaccinated
  • Youth recreational sport
  • Before and After school programs
  • The employer/employee relationship (this Order is for participants of discretionary activities)
  • Essential activities (health services, retail, grocery shopping, faith activities)

It is not known at this time what platform the card will take (phone/paper) or how the card will be obtained. The Proof of Vaccination website is being updated as more details emerge.

Many details are still being worked out by the PHO and they have stated that they should be released after the Labour Day long weekend. 

As a sector, we have the benefit of some lead time to adjust to this new measure. BCRPA’s CEO is in constant contact with her Provincial Plexus group (senior leaders among BCRPA’s Local Government members), updating them on PHO and Ministry measures and bringing their concerns back to the Ministry through her participation on the SSFRAC.

A Vax Card Advisory Group has been created from members of the Plexus to discuss operational impacts of this new measure. BCRPA is also partnering with government and industry groups to discuss the impact to the fitness sector.

Interior Health MHO Order

Interior Health is under a Guidance Order to manage the high transmission in that health region. Their Exercise and Sport restrictions have been updated– scroll to the bottom for a quick summary.


A return to the mask mandate for all indoor public spaces takes effect August 25, 2021 for all of BC.  The Order itself is yet to be released and will be available on the Government’s COVID-19 site when it is.

The numbers of people who may congregate have not changed (except for the Interior Health region).

The Press release on the announcement provides some detail.

Masks are required in “common areas of sport and fitness centres when not engaged in physical activity.” This includes all spaces within recreational facilities. Masks are not required during sport or exercise, as with Step 2.

As it was previously, there is an exemption for those unable to wear a mask: “People who cannot wear a mask or who cannot put on or remove a mask without the assistance of others are exempt.”

More updates on these measures will be posted as they become available.


Update: April 1, 2021

BCRPA's office hours are now Monday to Friday, 9 am to 4 pm.

BCRPA remains closed to the public. Please continue to contact us through all the normal channels. We will continue to post any and all updates on our website.


Update: December 14, 2020

The PHO Order on Gatherings and Events was updated and released on December 9, along with today's much-anticipated PHO Guidelines to restart group low intensity indoor exercise programs. The Province-wide Restrictions were also updated on Friday December 11 to align with the Order updates.

The updated Gatherings and Events Order can be found here. Updates to the order focus on social gatherings, with only minor changes to sections relevant to our sector. However, one major point is the exclusion of public swim and public skate – meaning we can continue to offer them.

The Public Health Guidelines for Group Low Intensity Exercise were released today, December 14, and can be found here in the Guidance section, under Guidelines.

These Guidelines are intended to provide recreation centres, fitness centres, studios, and gyms with information to support creating revised COVID safety plans for hosting indoor group exercise so that they may re-open. It provides requirements on how to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 and maintain safe and healthy environments for those participating in group low intensity exercise.

Low intensity exercise (not significantly increasing respiration) is allowed to take place only when an updated COVID-19 Safety Plan has been created in accordance with the measures provided in the Guideline document. No approvals are required; however, the plan must be posted in a place easily visible to participants.

Indoor group high intensity exercise activities are not permitted at all at the moment.

A few salient points within the group low intensity exercise restart guideline:

With respect to facilities:

  • Ventilation: ensuring air flow is maximized within exercise areas; banning of intentionally overheated environments.
  • Implementation of time buffers for entering and exiting classes.
  • To determine occupancy: each workout room/space must accommodate 7 square meters (2.5m X 2.5m + safety allowance of 20%) of unencumbered floor space per patron; patrons spaced 2.5m apart in all directions at all times, with a maximum of 25 patrons in any exercise class or room. 

 With respect to fitness instructors:

  • Instructors for fitness classes require microphones to reduce raised voices. 
  • Music must be kept below speaking volume in order to reduce singing or shouting.
  • No hands-on corrections from instructors.


Update: October 8, 2020

BCRPA staff have transitioned back into the office on a part-time basis. In preparation, we have implemented a number of COVID-19 exposure prevention measures and policies. Read the BCRPA COVID-19 Safety Plan here.

BCRPA remains closed to the public. Please continue to contact us through all the normal channels. We will continue to post any and all updates on our website.


Update: May 28, 2020

BC Recreation and Parks Association (BCRPA) is helping bring recreation back! As we enter into Phase 2 of the Province of BC’s Restart Plan, we have released our Recreation and Parks Sector Guideline for Restarting Operations (The Guideline) to help local and regional governments restart their recreation services and amenities, and operate them safely.

Produced at the request of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture and the Provincial Health Office, The Guideline is a planning tool to help BC’s public recreation and parks sector to carefully re-open and offer services and programs safely during this COVID-19 pandemic.

The Guideline addresses the health and safety requirements across the entire field of Recreation and Parks, applying to both private and public facilities and service providers, and all facility types, sizes, and locations. Page 29 of the Guideline also includes WorkSafeBC's specific guidelines for gyms and fitness centres.

Click here to read the Recreation and Parks Sector Guideline for Restarting Operations.


Update: April 22, 2020

Temporary changes have been made to the insurance policy for BCRPA Registered Fitness Leaders.

View all updates for Fitness Leaders here.


Update: March 31, 2020

Changes to Fitness Program

In response to the current COVID-19 prevention measures currently in place, we have made changes to Fitness Student AND Fitness Leader registrations. Please read the impact notices linked above.

Forums created to keep local government recreation and parks department staff connected.

Two private forums have been created within the Conversation Corner through which our local government members can connect with each other to collectively discuss actions being taken and to share advice and general camaraderie. Access information is listed in the description of each forum.


Update: March 17, 2020

BCRPA's office has temporarily closed as of Thursday March 19, 2020 until further notice, with Staff working remotely. Please continue to contact us through all the normal channels.

Please provide your email address when leaving a voice message for BCRPA Staff, as phone calls will likely be returned via email. We will continue to post any and all updates regarding BCRPA business here.


Update: March 16, 2020

Today’s federal and provincial health announcements have set in motion more determined preventative measures that we are all being mandated to take in relation to flattening the curve of the COVID-19 virus.

As with you, we are now adjusting our operations to comply with these new measures.

The first is the cancellation of Symposium. As stated previously, all delegates will be receiving a full refund. These will begin automatically; there is no need to initiate that process. We are also reviewing other professional development offerings that are scheduled in the next few weeks, and will be communicating directly with those who have enrolled.

We continue to closely monitor the status of this ever changing situation and provide support to our members in any way we can.

We encourage our Local Government members to continue to use the COVID-19 forum on the Conversation Corner, to keep connected, coordinated and supported by your colleagues across the province.


Update: March 12, 2020

We, along with our members, are constantly monitoring the status of COVID-19 and the advice of local, provincial, and federal health authorities as it relates to mass gatherings.

Just this afternoon the BC Provincial Health Officer and Health Minister made a number of announcements aimed at further reducing the spread of the virus: recommendation against all non-essential travel outside of Canada and the cancellation of any gatherings of more than 250 people.

With our conference still being 6 weeks away (as of today), it is our hope that these new prevention measures, in combination with measures already in place, will make a significant enough impact that the ban on mass gatherings will be lifted in the coming few weeks. Based on that, we are staying the course with the delivery of Symposium and keeping registration open.  We are also ensuring all related prevention measures are in place at the event (ie: signage encouraging good hygiene practices, enhanced facility cleaning, availability of hand sanitation, etc).

Should the direction of our provincial health authorities not change we will adjust our planning accordingly.

To help assuage any concerns with our approach please know that all Symposium registration cancellations made prior to April 27 will receive 100% refunds.

If you have/are booking accommodations, flights and other means of transportation, we encourage you to check the cancellation and rescheduling changes they may have adopted during this extraordinary time. Most travel providers are offering full refunds.

Members and delegates will be notified immediately if/when we make any further changes related to Symposium.