Public Health Key Messages & Return to Play Plans

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Below are some sport and recreation key messages that have been developed and reviewed by Public Health:

Recreation and Sport Key Messages March 27, 2021

  • Sport Guidance applies to all types of sport and sport operators, including association, private, recreational, community-based and/or other sport providers/opportunities. This guidance is to be used with provincial sport organization COVID-19 Return to Sport Plans. Please contact Sport NL or the respective provincial sport organization for more information on the Return to Sport Plan process.
  • The presence of COVID-19 variants (including B.1.1.7), introduces new challenges and it is important that facility operators and organizations are aware of the following:
    • COVID-19 variants may spread more rapidly than the original strain of the virus;
    • Given that COVID-19 is transmissible by asymptomatic individuals, it may go undetected, thus the more rapid spread of COVID-19 variants can lead to more cases, and potentially more deaths.
    • The potential risk of COVID-19 spread, is highest when individuals are indoors, within two metres of each other, in a small space with limited ventilation, sharing equipment or food, and/or taking deep breaths. Therefore, recreational activity and sports occurring indoors and/or in close proximity to others, are considered higher risk. Maintaining physical distance during recreation activities and sport is very important, especially, as Alert Level 2 commences, particularly in the context of COVID-19 variants.
  • It is important that groups and organizations are considering sport/recreation activity, which is in compliance with revised Guidance, rather than simply consideration of picking up where things left off prior to returning to Alert Level 5 in mid-February. Resuming sport/recreation activity in the context of COVID-19 variants requires a modified and phased in approach.
    • A regular group of individuals that rent sport facility time on a consistent basis (e.g. every Wednesday) may hold intra-squad activity without a Return to Sport Plan. A regular group is considered to be the same group of individuals that meet on a regular basis. While the intent is to permit intra-squad competition without a Return to Sport Plan, the intent is not to have PSO and non-PSO sport providers (private/other providers) consider/develop options to establish a new group, or combining previously existing groups, that falls within the 50 individual capacity limits, that the operator perceives/believes would be operating in a recreational sport group/league, in order to resume competition without an approved Return to Sport Plan.
    • PSO Return to Sport Plans should be submitted to Sport NL Sport NL will share the Plan with Government for review and approval. Approved PSO Plans will be publicly available at
    • Non-PSO sport providers (private/other sport providers may submit a Return to Sport Plan for review/approval to
  • Individual sports (PSO) may resume training/practice and intra-squad competition is permitted without a Return to Sport Plan. In the context of intra-squad competition, time trials or other competition involving members of the same club or team would be permitted (e.g. swimming, pickle ball, badminton, cross country ski, etc). Competitions involving individuals from more than one club, would require a Return to Sport Plan to be submitted and reviewed. PSO Plans should be submitted to Sport NL SNL will share Plans with Government for review and approval.
  • The Return to Sport Plan information/template indicates that sport groups/operators may operate in their regular schedule (if a team/league regularly is regional in nature or provincial in nature, it may operate as such, however a Return to Sport Plan should be submitted for review/approval prior to any resumption of inter-squad competition.

Return to Sport Plan – Private or Other Sport Operator

Return to Sport Plan – PSO Template


  • The latest Special Measures Order states:
    • Arenas, gyms and fitness facilities, including yoga studios, swimming pools, indoor tennis, squash facilities and dance studios may operate at an occupancy limited to groups of no more than 50 people per rink surface, playing space or room provided that 2 metres of distance between participants may be maintained. With the exception of 1 person per child as required to assist the child in preparing to participate in a group activity, spectators are not permitted.
  • A number of the revised Guidance documents include information regarding wearing non-medical masks. The following is included in the Sport Guidance:
    • Non-medical masks should be worn as much as possible when in indoor spaces. Full information may be found at While participating in indoor sports, NMM must be worn inside the facility, however participants may remove their mask when engaged in moderate or vigorous physical activity as determined by the coaches or organizers. The use of non-medical masks will be required to be worn where possible.

The latest updated guidelines can be found here.