CORA STATEMENT REGARDING COVID-19 – UPDATE (revised March 28, 2020)

On 16 March 2020 the British Columbia Provincial Health Officer announced an advisory prohibiting public gatherings of 50 or more people. While we continue to defer to our member clubs in making decisions regarding their operations and events, this new prohibition applies to all near-term CORA-sanctioned races.
Near term events that have been postponed include:
  • Crazy 8s (NOPC) 14-15 March 2020
  • March Madness (FCRCC) 21 March 2020
  • Wake Up The Gorge (VCKC) 4-5 April 2020
  • River Run (FLCC) 18 April 2020
  • National Sprints (VYPC) 25-26 April 2020
  • SwitchBlade Multi-Paddle-Sport Relay (VCKC) 9 May 2020
  • Duel In The Desert (PRCC) 9-10 May 2020
  • D’Arcy Island Cash Dash (L48) 16 May, 2020
We will keep our members apprised of race schedule changes as they emerge, and in the context of event prohibitions as they evolve over the coming weeks.
Club / Facility closures:
As of 23 March 2020, the following clubs and facilities have suspended operations. Confirmation of service resumption dates will be communicated to members as they become known:
Vancouver
  • Dragon Zone Paddling Club
  • False Creek Racing Canoe Club
  • Fort Langley Canoe Club
  • Fraser Valley Paddling Club
  • Jericho Paddling Club
  • Lotus Sports Club
  • Vancouver Ocean Sports
Vancouver Island
  • Fairway Gorge Paddling Club
  • VI Paddling Club
  • Victoria Canoe Kayak Club
  • Victoria Youth Paddling Club
Okanagan / Interior
  • Penticton Racing Canoe Club
We expect significant ongoing impacts to our member clubs’ operations, and additional postponements and cancellations of races as we work to curtail the community spread of COVID-19.
Please watch the CORA Race Schedule for race updates, and visit our website regularly for announcements. These dramatic changes — vital preventive measures over the near term — amount to our collective investment in the best outcomes for Canadians, and for our neighbours  around the world.

CORA Statement regarding COVID-19

March 15, 2020

Following the World Health Organization’s March 11, 2020 declaration that COVID-19 is a pandemic, the governmental response to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus is evolving on a daily basis.  We advise that individual CORA members and member clubs keep abreast of developments both nationally and in your city and province in order to comply with the requirements and implement the recommendations of federal, provincial and municipal authorities.  We have provided some relevant links at the bottom of this document.

Your Personal Well-Being

The sport of outrigger paddling is a demanding one, so most individual CORA members are in good health.  The Public Health Agency of Canada has assessed the public health risk associated with COVID-19 as low for the general population in Canada, but that assessment could change.  There is an increased risk of more severe outcomes for persons who are aged 65 and over, or who have compromised immune systems or have other underlying medical conditions.  All persons should take steps to reduce their potential exposure to or spread of the virus, including:

  • remain healthy, being cautious of overtraining and the impact of stress on your immune system
  • staying at home if you display signs of illness
  • practising frequent hand hygiene and coughing and sneezing etiquette
  • avoiding touching your face
  • replacing handshakes and hugs with non-contact greetings
  • cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces
  • minimizing close contact with others
  • not sharing water bottles or communal food items
  • eliminating cross-border or other international travel
  • staying at home if you have travelled to the United States or internationally within the past 2 weeks

If you develop COVID-19 symptoms, stay at home, limit contact with others by self-isolating, contact local public health authorities and follow their instructions.

Our Member Clubs

We believe that our member clubs are best suited to address the needs and concerns of their members, given variations in their size, disciplines, facilities, equipment, geographic location, local climate and available resources.

We recommend that member clubs review their day-to-day operations now and on an ongoing basis during the pandemic to implement measures on a best efforts basis to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus, including:

  • procedures for the cleaning and disinfection of equipment
  • managing equipment usage and handover
  • recommending the use of personally-owned equipment
  • managing schedules and facility occupancy to reduce crowding
  • substituting social media for social gatherings

and which may include a curtailment or cessation of operations should the situation worsen in their area.

Our Races

There are 10 CORA-sanctioned events scheduled from now until the end of May 2020, all located within the province of British Columbia.

On March 12, 2020, the British Columbia provincial health officer, Dr Bonnie Henry, issued an order banning public gatherings of 250 or more people in an effort to reduce the risk of community transmission of COVID-19 infections.  In her statement, Dr Henry noted that the figure of 250 people is “not scientific” but was chosen to achieve “social distancing” between people of approximately one arm’s length.  Dr Henry encouraged people to partake in outdoor activities, as they pose less risk than indoor events such as concerts, conferences or sporting events in stadium seating.

It is our view that the format and scheduling of outrigger canoe races can be managed to restrict race site attendance to under 250 people at any one time, in compliance with the provincial health officer’s order, and to implement other risk mitigation measures.  This is particularly true for early season or regional races when participation is lower than for summer races.

As with their day-to-day operations, we believe that our member clubs hosting CORA-sanctioned races (“host clubs”) are best suited to evaluate and determine what actions will be taken with respect to the hosting of their event.  Host clubs are expected to review all aspects of their events and develop risk mitigation plans with measures to limit attendance to under 250 people at any one time and to manage the risks of potential exposure to or spread of the COVID-19 virus at their events.  Each host club must evaluate whether it has the resources to implement its mitigation plan in an efficient and effective manner.  If a host club determines that it does not have sufficient resources to do so, we would respect its decision to cancel or postpone its event.  Where events are postponed, CORA will accommodate new dates in the race schedule, noting that alternate dates may not be available until late summer or fall.

In developing a risk mitigation plan, the following are some suggested race-specific risk mitigation measures:

  • Race Registration
    • restricting the number of canoe entries in each race
    • complying with provincial and national travel guidance and restrictions as they relate to cross-border or international race participants
    • complying with provincial and national travel guidance and restrictions as they relate to Canadians who have travelled to the United States or internationally within the past 2 weeks
    • prohibiting participants displaying signs of illness
  • Event Scheduling
    • running 4 races (short course/women’s long course/men’s long course/mixed long course) instead of 3 races to reduce the number of participants in each race
    • allowing sufficient time between races for cleaning and disinfection of canoes
    • eliminating food service from the event (especially group sit-down banquets)
    • eliminating homemade food items (through bake sales or as awards)
    • hosting awards after each race in an outdoor setting to allow social distancing
    • replacing an awards ceremony with results posting and award pick-up
  • Operations
    • avoid incurring non-refundable expenses
    • having hand wash stations and hand sanitizer stations available
    • removing skirts from canoes where race conditions allow
    • where canoes and paddles are supplied, cleaning and disinfecting paddles and canoes after each race
    • where crews supply their own canoes, having cleaning and disinfectant supplies available
    • avoiding crowded marshalling areas and keeping marshalling crews separated
    • providing multiple rain shelters
    • allowing beach loading of canoes where available
    • for dock use, avoiding overcrowding of docks
    • for dock use, dispersing unloading crews quickly before loading crews are allowed onto the dock
    • discouraging contact between paddlers when filing on or off the dock
  • General
    • encouraging the use of personally-owned Canadian-approved PFDs rather than supplied PFDs
    • encouraging the use of personally-owned paddles
    • not sharing water bottles or communal food items

Please also review the Public Health Agency of Canada’s webpage entitled “risk-informed decision-making for mass gatherings during COVID-19 global outbreak” and the BC Centre for Disease Control’s “event planning” webpage, both linked below.

The CORA Cup Race Series

With respect to the CORA Cup race series, subject to cancellations and postponements, most races are scheduled for April and May with the following regional distribution:

  • BC Lower Mainland: River Run (April 18 & 19, 2020) & Jericho Iron (May 23, 2020)
  • BC Interior/Alberta: Duel in Desert (May 9 & 10, 2020)
  • Vancouver Island: Brotchie Reach (May 2 & 3, 2020) & Island Iron (May 30 & 31, 2020)

Eligibility for CORA Cup contention requires participation in two CORA Cup races plus the Canadian National Championships.  There is a three-month gap between Island Iron and the Canadian National Championships in Comox on August 29 & 30, 2020.  We hope that the COVID-19 pandemic will have subsided by this time.  The regional distribution of races allows crews to remain within their region and race two CORA Cup races, except for the Interior/Alberta region.  If the situation worsens, this allows CORA Cup race participants to avoid mass travel on BC Ferries and remain within their region.  If we do advise that crews stay within their region for races or if races are cancelled, the requirements for contention may be revised or racers may be awarded double CORA Cup points where a second regional race is not available. In the event of postponements, the CORA Cup may be awarded after the rescheduled races have been held.

CORA will continue monitoring developments regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and may revise our recommendations as the situation evolves.  Please watch our website www.canadianoutrigger.ca for updates.

Useful References

Public Health Agency of Canada

https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection.html

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Being prepared:
https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/being-prepared.html#a2

Risk-informed decision-making for mass gatherings during COVID-19 global outbreak:
https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/health-professionals/mass-gatherings-risk-assesment.html

British Columbia Centre for Disease Control

http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19

Event Planning:
http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19/event-planning

Alberta Health Services

https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/topics/Page16944.aspx

Ontario Public Health

https://www.publichealthontario.ca/en/diseases-and-conditions/infectious-diseases/respiratory-diseases/novel-coronavirus

City of Toronto Public Health

https://www.toronto.ca/community-people/health-wellness-care/diseases-medications-vaccines/coronavirus/

Government of Quebec Health

https://www.quebec.ca/en/health/health-issues/a-z/2019-coronavirus/

 

 

New CORA long distance race rules

CORA has updated its long distance race rules, applicable to all CORA-sanctioned races. Highlights of changes include:

  • With the growing number of unlimited canoes, CORA has introduced a masters 40+ age division for unlimited canoes.  Note that the separation of unlimited masters 40+ and unlimited open crews may allow for unused canoes to be raced by mixed masters 40+ crews in the women’s race.
  • We have stated the previously unwritten custom of allowing an experienced steer to steer junior and novice crews without disqualifying the from those divisions.
  • We have clarified the rules for combining divisions for the purposes of conferring race awards and expressed expectations regarding the conferring of awards for junior, novice and open divisions where fewer than 3 crews or paddlers are registered.
  • We have revised the requirements for personal floatation devices in accordance with guidance received from CORA’s insurance provider.

The revised the CORA long distance race rules (March 2020) can be found HERE.  We have also prepared a “blackline” document that highlights the changes from the March 2018 version of the rules HERE.