On Friday May 15th, 2020, an email was sent to MTO members regarding the list of Stage 1 openings provided by the Government of Ontario. In the detailed list, close contact individual sports such as martial arts, boxing, squash, racquetball, etc. are not permitted.
However, over the long weekend, an amendment to Ontario’s Emergency Order was made and then published on May 19th, 2020. The legislation could be interpreted that clubs that are members of PSO’s could train athletes (which as a term is subject to multiple interpretations) so long as they follow the requirements detailed in Section 8, any requirements outlined by the PSO, and any requirements outlined in the resources to prevent COVID-19.
This has caused some confusion among provincial combat sport organizations.
Based on the Ministry’s press release last week, the information for businesses hotline (https://www.ontario.ca/page/emergency-information), and the Minister’s own words in an industry town hall – close quarters indoor sport like Muaythai should not be resuming at this time. It appears that the purpose is intended for high level athletes (NBS, Pro Soccer, OHL, Olympic Athletes) to be able to access training facilities, not to reopen recreational classes with physical distance – e.g. The Toronto Raptors allowing only one player in the facility at a time.
At this time, Muaythai Ontario has been seeking urgent clarification with the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism, and Culture Industries and with other sport advisors.
Muaythai Ontario will not rush into situations where details are unclear, especially when people’s health and lives are at stake. As soon as the messaging has been cleared, club owners will receive an email update from Muaythai Ontario.
In addition, Muaythai Ontario will soon forward to club owners a risk assessment and re-opening framework provided by the Canadian Sport Institute Ontario (CSIO). This will assist clubs in their preparations for re-opening when it is our turn.
We thank all clubs for their patience and hard work these past months in stopping the spread of COVID-19.
Khop Khun Khrap!