Vancouver, BC – March 11, 2020: Earlier today, Washington State Governor, Jay Inslee, announced new community strategies and social distancing plans to minimise COVID-19 exposure, particularly in counties hit hardest by the virus. Starting March 11, 2020, events that take place in King, Snohomish, and Pierce counties with more than 250 people are prohibited by the state. This order has already resulted in many sporting fixtures to be impacted within Washington State, including the Seattle Sounders FC postponing their March 21 home match, while the Seattle Seawolves MLR Team are seeking an action plan to address their scheduled March 21 and March 29 home matches.
Additionally, Seattle & King County has placed restrictions on events of less than 250 people. These restrictions ultimately mean that Seattle Saracens are unable to host matches until further notice. Clubs immediately impacted have been directly contacted.
BC Rugby CEO, Annabel Kehoe, stated: “Although there remains no change on travel restrictions, I think it is reasonable to anticipate restrictions, if not, significant delays at border crossings. Therefore, to support Clubs taking action and cancelling travel arrangements, I am making the decision to prohibit Seattle Saracens from participating in any matches until further notice.”
In response, Seattle Saracens Rugby President, Kevin Flynn, said: “We are in 100% agreement with this decision and want to ensure we do our upmost to prevent the spread of infection. It is disappointing but a necessity at this time.”
The Competitions Committee will be tasked to review the schedules of those Men’s and Women’s divisions impacted and plan for the possibility that Seattle Saracens are able rejoin league play at some point, determining best use of the Easter make-up weekend as well as any other scheduling opportunities to get as close as possible to a balanced or full schedule.
All other matches shall go ahead as scheduled.
All Clubs and Affiliate Members are asked to reinforce the following health advice to players, team personnel and spectators:
- Wash your hands frequently (it is the single most effective way of reducing infection spread).
- Practice other good hygiene habits:
- do not touch your face/eyes/mouth with your hands;
- cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough (ideally with a disposable tissue or the crease of your elbow);
- restrict sharing of water bottles.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, e.g. tackle bags
- Maintain good general health (eat a balanced diet, get enough sleep, exercise in moderation).
- Stay home if you are sick.
- Contact 8-1-1 (HealthLink BC) or your health care provider for questions about your personal health situation.
“On behalf of the Board of BC Rugby, I want to thank Kevin and the entire Seattle Saracens’ leadership for their diligence and understanding in dealing with this unique situation,” said Kehoe. “Safety remains our top priority and I want to thank the rugby community in advance for playing our part in halting the spread of this global health crisis.”
BC Rugby will continue to monitor the situation, relying on the BC Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, the Public Health Agency of Canada, Washington State Department of Health, and the World Health Organisation and their published guidance.