Brent Larsen told a Monday, March 29, afternoon press conference at the Milner baseball field in Langley that he intends to continue gathering signatures for a petition to have kids sports resume.
Asked about the provincial announcement tightening COVID-19 restrictions earlier in the day, Larsen said the province is still allowing outdoor dining, so there is no reason to forbid outdoor sports.
Larsen, a parent and coach, has organized an online petition urging provincial heath officer Dr. Bonnie Henry to reconsider current COVID-19 restrictions that allow practicing, but not actual game play, and keep parents from watching because of spectator bans.
“We want to see the data that shows it’s unsafe for kids to play outdoors,” Larsen said.
“I call on the health authorities to let kids play.”
Larsen also said it was unfair to allow “elite athletes” to compete while limiting kids to practicing.
As of Monday, Larsen’s online petition posted to community.sumofus.org, “open sporting games for BC children,” on March 15, had 1,745 signatures.
Larsen said reaction has been supportive.
“I didn’t get any negative feedback personally,” he remarked.
Larsen issued an invitation to Henry or a representative to attend the press conference to explain their reasoning, but wasn’t surprised no one showed.
“I understand they’re probably busy, but we’re calling on the province to let the kids play,” Larsen commented.
A woman who said she was a single parent and only gave her first name of Esther also spoke at the press conference and described how the shutdown of outdoor sports is especially hard on low-income people.
“Some of us don’t even have a yard [for our kids to play in],” Esther said.
On Monday, indoor dining and liquor sales, indoor adult group fitness and indoor religious services were shut down for the next three weeks, in what provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry called a “circuit breaker” to combat a rise in COVID-19 cases.
The new rules apply to pubs and restaurants as well as adult fitness activities.
Patio dining and take-out are not affected, and individual or one-on-one fitness is still allowed with existing restrictions.
Whistler Blackcomb ski resort is also closing for the period, after an increase in positive COVID tests in the province’s largest resort community.
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