The information found in this document is current to August 2020.

DISCLAIMER BC Weightlifting’s Return to Sport Guideline is intended to be used for the purposes set in this document. While we aim to provide relevant and timely information, because information known about the COVID-19 coronavirus and recommended health and safety measures can rapidly change, no guarantee can be given as to the accuracy or completeness of any information provided in the RTS Guidelines.

It is important to note that this document is not a legal document and is to be used as a guide only. It is not a substitute for actual legislation or orders of the Provincial Health Office. In the event of an ambiguity or conflict between the Return to Sport Guidelines and the Public Health Act, regulations or orders thereunder, the Act, regulations and orders prevail. All affiliated and sanctioned activities must comply with the requirements of the provincial and local government and health officials in terms of public gatherings and sporting events when determining when it is safe to return to activities.

Nothing in this document is intended to provide legal advice. Do not rely on this document or treat it as legal advice.

This document contains links to third party web sites. Links are provided for convenience only and BC Weightlifting does not endorse the information contained in linked web sites nor guarantee its accuracy, timeliness or fitness for a particular purpose. The information in those links may be updated from time to time. We do not monitor those sites and are not responsible for updates.

Anyone using the Guidelines does so at his or her own risk. BC Weightlifting shall not be responsible for any loss or damage of any kind arising directly or indirectly from the use of these Guidelines including, without limitation, reliance on the completeness or accuracy of the information provided.


Sport is going to play a critical role in the physical and mental health of people as the province reopens and rebuilds, and as such, it is important that our community respects the restrictions imposed by the provincial health authority. Of primary importance, it is critical that we take every precaution to help keep all participants safe. If guidelines are adhered to, multisport training can proceed safely within the new physical distancing guidelines set by health authorities. The initial steps outlined in this document are focused at the regional level. To minimize risk, cross community participation is not recommended at this time.

For the purposes of this document “Sport” is defined as any organized sport activity that involves a number of people doing a physical activity together in a structured way and is facilitated by a Provincial Sport Organization (e.g. BC Weightlifting), Local Sport Organization (affiliated member club, coach or director). “Recreation” as defined by the Canadian Parks and Recreation Association is the experience that results from freely chosen participation in physical, social, intellectual, creative and spiritual pursuits that enhance individual and community wellbeing.” Physical activities would include those undertaken as leisure, fitness training and sport-related activities that are done at the discretion of the individual (e.g. – use of parks, hiking trails, public recreation facilities), either self-led or facilitated by recreation leaders and are not included within the context of this document.

The purpose of this document is to provide athletes, clubs and coaches with information they can use to assist them with developing a safe Return to Sport protocol in the context of COVID-19.

Athletes, and coaches can use this information to create their own unique Return to Sport plan that is specific to their situation and training environment.

As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, it is imperative that all multisport enthusiasts implement the COVID-19 physical distancing, disinfection and other procedures outlined by the Provincial Health Office (PHO) and regional health authorities, along with other authorities such as WorkSafeBC and Health Canada (see appendix for additional resources).

BC Weightlifting’s Approach to a Safe Return to Sport prioritizes safety of our athletes, coaches, race directors, officials, volunteers and the broader multisport community, and falls in line with BC’s Four Phased Restart plan.


  • To provide information, tools, and strategies for local sport organizations (LSOs), affiliated clubs and coaches decision-making skills regarding safe operations that will limit transmission of COVID-19 within the multisport community.
  • To communicate a common approach that can be applied throughout the multisport sector in Phases 1 through 3 of BC’s Restart Plan, and that reflects a collaborative effort among the sector’s key partners and agencies.
  • To provide strategies for program delivery which are flexible and adaptable to the varied needs of local governments, and a continuum of steps to follow in restarting training (both the expansion and possibly retraction, depending upon the progress of the pandemic.
  • To align the above goals with broader PHO guidelines and directives.

Five Principles for Every Situation: The following five principles from BC’s Restart Plan have been used to guide this document:

  1. Personal Hygiene
    • Frequent Handwashing
    • Cough into your sleeve
    • Wear a non medical mask where appropriate
    • No handshaking
    • No high fives
  2. Stay Home If You Are Sick
    • Routine daily screening
    • Anyone with any symptoms must stay away from others
    • Returning travellers must self isolate
  3. Environmental Hygiene
    • More Frequent cleaning
    • Enhanced surface sanitation in high tough areas
    • Use of touchless technology (video conferencing)
  4. Safe Social Interactions
    • Meet with small numbers of athletes
    • Always maintain social distancing between individuals
    • Geographical locations- the bigger the better
    • Keep bay doors, regular doors and windows open for air flow
  5. Physical Modifications
    • Movement of people within a defined area
    • Holding/Waiting areas
    • One athlete per barbell, limited athletes per training session, platforms spaced appropriately


COVID-19 is transmitted via liquid droplets when a person coughs or sneezes but also potentially when they are talking in very close proximity to another person. The virus in these droplets then can enter the body of another person when that person breathes in the droplets or when the droplets touch the eyes, nose or throat of that person.

This requires you to be in close contact – less than the so-called physical distancing of 2 meters. This is referred to as ‘droplet’ transmission and is believed to be the primary way COVID-19 is transmitted.

COVID-19 can also be transmitted through droplets in the environment if someone touches a contaminated area then touches their face without cleaning their hands. The virus does not enter the body through skin, it enters through the eyes, nose or mouth when the person touches their face. Unfortunately, human beings touch their faces very often throughout the day, much more than they realize. This is why regular handwashing and cleaning of high-touch surfaces is so important.

For COVID-19 there are some emerging indications that there are people who can shed COVID-19 virus 24 to 48 hours prior to symptom onset, but at present, it is not known whether this is a significant risk factor for transmission.

Droplet transmission is much more likely when in close contact in an indoor setting. Transmission is less likely in an outdoor setting, where there is more space for people to keep physically distanced. However, in the context of sports, even outdoors there can be risks from high-touch surfaces because many sports involve objects that are normally shared among participants, coaches or volunteers (transition racks, pool floors, pumps etc.). Whether indoors or outdoors, physical distancing and avoidance of high-touch surfaces will reduce the risk of transmission.


The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to other respiratory illnesses, including the flu and the common cold. These symptoms include fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat and painful swallowing, stuffy or runny nose, loss of sense of smell, headache, muscle aches, fatigue and loss of appetite.

People infected with COVID-19 may experience little or no symptoms, with illness ranging from mild to severe.

Some people are more vulnerable to developing severe illness or complications from COVID-19, including older people and those with chronic health conditions. An online self assessment tool is available at

A participant screening/self assessment questionnaire has been provided in the appendix.


When determining whether or not your organization is ready to resume sport activities, it is important to note that at the time of publishing this document most insurance policies will not cover any claims relating to communicable diseases or pandemics and that most policies, including Directors and Officers Insurance, now include specific pandemic exclusions.

Role of the Board: The board of an organization (Club/LOC) is responsible for the oversight of risk. A board may delegate much of the work involved in managing risk, but cannot delegate its responsibility for oversight.

Below is a detailed assessment and mitigation tool specific to club-based training. The tool provided was adapted from the WHO Mass Gathering Risk Assessment and Mitigation Checklist and the Canadian RATs tool to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission when resuming club-based training.

Please note, no modifications to the Risk Assessment Tool are permitted.

Download Club Risk Assessment and Mitigation Checklist Tool

Risk Mitigation

  • Returning to sport must be planned around assessing the risks and developing a plan to take all necessary precautions to mitigate the risk of an individual being exposed to or infected with the virus.
  • The Return to Sport Plan developed by Triathlon BC is based on a risk assessment and analysis that considers the risks presented by the type of sport activities and the place where the sport activities occur, who is involved and their risk profile, and what measures can be implemented.
  • The Return to Sport Plan must be made easily available to staff, volunteers, participants and other stakeholders, through the organization’s website or posted in the facility.
  • Staff, volunteers and participants should be trained on the Return to Sport Plan (as appropriate to age/role).
  • The Return to Sport Plan is consistent with the guidelines and directives set by government, WorkSafe BC and health authorities.
  • The Return to Sport Plan will be monitored and updated as necessary when circumstances or provincial guidance changes.
  • It is strongly recommended that member clubs/local sport organizations have their participant members acknowledge the risks associated with reopening and their agreement to follow BC Weightlifting’s Return to Sport plan.
  • All activities sanctioned by BC Weightlifting must follow the Return to Sport guidelines.
  • Within Phase 2 and 3, training focuses on: skill development, fitness improvements, injury prevention and low risk activities;
    • Activities should be those typically done in practice and/or training environments
    • Individuals will have had limited exposure to physical activity for the last 6+ weeks while confined to their homes. Ensure that activities consider their ability that day (not where they previously may have been) and have injury prevention top of mind.
  • Remain community focused
    • Stay within the home sport community or club(s) where participants are members
    • Avoid cross-regional, inter-provincial or cross-country travel. Note that non-essential travel within B.C. and Canada is currently very strongly discouraged (this is expected to change later in the summer). International travel is subject to quarantine rules and raises other risks including unpredictable flight schedule changes and cancellations, and the potential for sudden changes to border controls.
  • Participants should be asked to sign a participant agreement acknowledging their acceptance of the risks (see sample form in Appendix)
  • Existing waivers, releases and/or participant agreements should be reviewed to confirm that they are broad enough to encompass COVID-19 related risks. Consider revising such documents to explicitly reference COVID19 related risks. Further consider whether any such documents which were completed by participants before the COVID-19 pandemic should be completed again before activities resume.
  • Participant Screening should be performed on a daily basis (see sample form in Appendix).
  • Communication: Keeping all participants informed on risk management strategies is absolutely critical. All provisions must be communicated clearly to all participants involved in the training session using website, direct email, social media etc.
  • BC health officials outline that the risk of transmission is subject to two variables that we need to modify to educe transmission risk:
    • Contact intensity – how close you are to someone and for how long
  • umber of contacts – how many people are in the same setting at the same time Modifying from high to low can be based on a range of controls. Different actions have differing levels of protection and whenever possible use the action that offers the most protection. The following are listed from highest level of protection to lowest:
    • Physical distancing measures – to reduce density of people, (number and duration of contacts)
    • Engineering controls – physical barriers, increased ventilation, traffic flow
    • Administrative controls – rules and guidelines
    • Non-medical masks (and other PPE)

This document outlines how these strategies for can be applied within sport across four key areas: Facility Access, Facility Operations, Participants and Programming.


When considering delivery of sport programming, affiliated member clubs and coaches need to consider the health of the participant, who their participants are, the size of the group, expectations of participants and the communication and enforcement of those expectations


The following should be in place to protect the health of the participants.

  1. Develop and implement an Illness Policy that outlines procedures for participants that may be experiencing symptoms. See Appendix.
  2. Conduct daily symptom screenings for all participants by having them answer a wellness questionnaire or complete a self-assessment. See Appendix.
  3. Have a zero tolerance policy for ‘playing while sick’ - ensure that participants do not participate if they are symptomatic.
  4. Implement enhanced hygiene protocols:
    • Frequent and proper handwashing
    • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
    • Cough into your sleeve
  5. Have participants sign a Participant Agreement or Waiver. See Appendix for an example.


  1. PRIORITY 1 - Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before entering your training environment.
  2. PRIORITY 2 – Practice physical distancing – keep a minimum distance of at least 2M/6ft from team members and participants.
  3. PRIORITY 3 – Self isolate and quarantine immediately if you feel any symptoms of COVID-19 such as fever, trouble breathing, dry cough, fatigue, sore throat and aches and pains.
  4. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  5. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands, or sneeze/cough into your elbow.
  6. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  7. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  8. Stay informed. Information is changing frequently.
  9. Practice physical distancing – keep a minimum distance of at least 2M / 6ft from fellow participants and coaches.

Reminders to participants: You should not participate or come to the facility if you don’t feel well or are displaying symptoms of COVID-19.


OVERVIEW: All participants and coaches should be in good health prior to attending any training sessions. Please consult your physician.


  • Athletes and coaches should not be attending any training sessions if they are showing signs and symptoms of illness
  • athletes and coaches should complete the government approved self assessment tools to determine further actions
  • ll clubs or coaches must confirm with their insurers the status of their liability insurance regarding communicable disease and the current global/regional situation


Clubs and Coaches should look at how they can support higher-risk populations, where possible. Individuals must be made aware of the risks to participation but the decision to participate is up to the individual. The exception is if the individual is displaying signs and symptoms of COVID-19.

Vulnerable populations may include:

  • older adults (65+)
  • those with underlying medical conditions and/or a compromised immune system
  • individuals that experience barriers such as communication, transportation, economic

Extended support examples may include:

  • Dedicated time slots: Specifying use of the facility or programming times for those that are most vulnerable (as grocery stores are currently doing)
  • Program modifications: offering low risk programming (reduced group sizes, no contact options, etc.)
  • Physical assistance: dedicated caregivers necessary to support an individual’s participation should be considered within the individual’s household or inner circle and may assist the participant with sport activities as required.
  • Communication: Ensure information is easily accessible to participants by translating signage and communications into multiple languages as well as various formats (for those with visual/hearing impairments)
  • Ensuring clear and consistent signage/messaging for the public and employees regarding facility and amenity COVID-19 transmission mitigation policies and procedures (date, logo, physical distancing and hand hygiene expectations, special instructions, etc.)
  • Economic barriers: be cautious of the price of activities and explore options for payment plans, discounted rates, etc.

B.C.’s Public Health Officer has issued an order barring gatherings of 50 or more people. However, each club/group will need to consider other factors to determine what is appropriate for their space to ensure the ability to maintain physical distancing.

Maximum group size counts need to consider all staff, coaches, participants, spectators, etc. The size of the indoor or outdoor space is also a key factor. There must be sufficient space in the room/area to allow for physical distancing between people; this means that in a smaller room/area, occupancy limits may be much less than 49. Facilities have received guidelines on determining maximum capacity within their facilities.

Affiliated Clubs should consider the activities that they are looking to deliver and the appropriate group sizes in order to ensure proper physical distancing. While these guidelines suggest reducing non-essential personnel other safety considerations such as the Rule of Two should be maintained so not to expose participants to other risk factors.


A training group is considered a public gathering; however, size and composition should not fluctuate regardless of changing guidelines around increasing social circles/bubbles. Always maintain 2 metres between all individuals before, during and after any training session.

  1. Keep athletes 2m apart at all times
  2. Do not share barbells or plates
  3. Clean all equipment prior to another athlete using that equipment
  4. Reduce class sizes and group athletes into designated training times

Ensuring safety measures are being met and adhered to depend on everyone being aware of, and understanding the health and sport specific guidelines. Communication of the guidelines to your participants and spectators is an important component of Triathlon BC’s Return to Sport Plan.

See Appendix for a sample letter you can share that can be adapted for your specific training environment.

Participants should be asked to sign a participant agreement acknowledging they have read the guidelines and understand their risk before participating. See Appendix for a sample participant agreement specific to COVID19 related risks.

It should also be communicated to participants that they are subject to removal from activities/facility use should they fail to comply with outlined protocols. See also participant health evaluation form (Appendix).


Public health officials have indicated that the use of outdoor facilities are generally safer as there is greater ventilation and ability to physical distance. This does not limit indoor training, but it does increase the risk factor and therefore adds further considerations related to indoor operations.

The Provincial Health Officer has banned gatherings of 50 or more. This ban is expected to remain in force until the end of the state of emergency. The ban applies to events which could result in people gathering closely together, but where the space is large enough to allow appropriate distancing between people, recreational facility guidelines state it is acceptable to have more than 50 people in attendance.

Indoors, it is generally recommended that facilities should have five sq. metres of “unencumbered floor space” per person. “Unencumbered floor space” means total floor space minus the amount of space taken by built-in fittings, counters, closets etc.

Those that utilize indoor facilities will need to look at:

  • Whether it is possible to re-locate activities to the outdoors – if so, look into how to obtain a permit;
  • additional municipal guidelines that may be in place
  • Whether or not multiple groups/sports will be held within the same facility

User groups renting municipal facilities are required to have a COVID-19 Safety Plan that demonstrates how activities will be provided to align with the directives of the Provincial Health Officer, local authorities and other relevant regulators (i.e. WorkSafe BC). To mitigate risks related to the facility access the following controls should be considered in consultation with the facility owners:

  1. Restricted Access
    1. Limit access to those that are essential to the approved activities (e.g. participants, facility staff, coaches)
    2. Parents and spectators may be allowed but would need to be factored into the maximum group size of less than 50 and must also adhere to the physical distancing guidelines
  2. Points of Access
    1. Where appropriate, consider designated drop-off and pick-up spaces
    2. Determine the number of access points and consider closing some in order to monitor how many people are entering the facility
    3. Choose doors with an automatic function or prop doors to reduce contact with door handles
    4. Consider how to manage the flow of people and put signage, directional limitations in place (e.g. all individuals must use one door for entry and a different door for exit, arrows or other directional instructions on the floor)
  3. Pre-registration
    1. Drop-in activities should be prohibited
    2. Individuals should pre-register online or over the phone
  4. Arrival and Departure
    1. Set a time in which it is appropriate for participants to arrive in advance of their scheduled activity (example – participants should not arrive sooner than 20 minutes before the scheduled start time, and there should be sufficient space for physical distancing while lining up or waiting to begin)
    2. At the end of their scheduled program/time slot participants must immediately leave the facility
    3. Staggered start times to account for individuals moving in and out of the facility/playing area
  5. Consider restricting or limiting use of different spaces within the facility/space in order to maintain physical distancing and proper cleaning protocols, including but not limited to:
    1. Equipment storage areas
    2. Change rooms
    3. Spectator seating: if used, consider using signage or partially closing seating areas to ensure adequate physical distancing between individuals/groups.
    4. Water fountains: close all water fountains except those used for filling water bottles. Do not allow individuals to drink directly from water fountain taps. Use signage to discourage individuals from touching surfaces of fountains and consider placing hand sanitizer adjacent to support hygiene and reduce transmission risk.
First Aid

In the event that first aid is required to be administered during an activity, all persons attending to the injured individual must first put on a mask and gloves.

A guide for employers and Occupational First Aid Attendants:

First aid protocols for an unresponsive person during COVID-19:


Early detection of symptoms will facilitate the immediate implementation of effective control measures. In addition, the early detection and immediate implementation of enhanced cleaning measures are two of the most important factors in limiting the size and length of an outbreak. An “outbreak” is two or more cases; a “case” is a single case of COVID-19.

  1. Identify the roles and responsibilities of coaches or volunteers if a case or outbreak is reported. Determine who within the organization has the authority to modify, restrict, postpone or cancel activities.
  2. If coaches, volunteers or a participant reports they are suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 and have been at the workplace/activity place, implement enhanced cleaning measures to reduce risk of transmission. If you are not the facility operator, notify the facility right away.
  3. Implement your illness policy and advise individuals to:
    • self-isolate
    • monitor their symptoms daily, report respiratory illness and not to return to activity for at least 10 days following the onset of fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat and painful swallowing, stuffy or runny nose, loss of sense of smell, headache, muscle aches, fatigue and loss of appetite.
    • use the COVID-19 self-assessment tool at BC COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool to help determine if further assessment or testing for COVID-19 is needed.
    • Individuals can contact 8-1-1 if further health advice is required and 9-1-1 if it is an emergency.
    • Individuals can learn more about how to manage their illness here
  4. In the event of a suspected case or outbreak of influenza-like-illness, immediately report and discuss the suspected outbreak with the Medical Health Officer (or delegate) at your local health authority. Implement your Illness Policy and your enhanced measures.
  5. If your organization is contacted by a medical health officer in the course of contact tracing, cooperate with local health authorities.

For a successful Return to Sport, we all need to play a role. From physical distancing, self assessment to personal responsibilities, it’s up to us to beat the curve.

Participant Illness/ Self Screen:
  1. If an athlete is feeling sick with COVID-19 symptoms
    1. Participants who feel sick with COVID-19 symptoms, such as fever, trouble breathing, dry cough, fatigue, sore throat and aches and pains, are to remain at home and contact Health Link BC at 8- 1-1.
    2. If a participant is showing even mild symptoms of the previous listed symptoms for COVID-19: i. Send home immediately, remove them from the schedule and have them contact 8-1-1 or a doctor for further guidance.
  2. If an athlete tests positive for COVID-19
    1. The participant will not be permitted to return to the field of play until they are free of the COVID-19 virus.
  3. If an athlete/coach has come in to contact with someone who has COVID-19
    1. Once the contact is confirmed, the participant will be removed from the field of play for a minimum of 14 days or as otherwise directed by public health authorities. Participants/coaches who may have come into close contact with the athlete or coach will also be removed from training at least 14 days.
  4. Quarantine or Self-Isolate if:
    1. Any athlete/coach who has travelled outside of Canada or the province within the last 14 days is not permitted to train and must quarantine and self-isolate.
    2. Any athlete/coach with any symptoms of COVID-19 is not permitted to participate in any training activities
    3. Any athlete/coach from a household with someone showing symptoms of COVID-19 is not permitted to participate in any training activities and must quarantine and self-isolate.
    4. Any athlete/coach who is in quarantine or self-isolating as a result of contact with an infected person or in families who are self-isolating, is not permitted to participate in any training activities.
  5. Self Screening: a. Athletes/coaches interacting with training groups are encouraged to self-assess for symptoms continually.


BC COVID-19 Go-Forward Management Strategy:

B.C. Go Forward Strategy Checklist:

PHO Orders


HEALTH RESOURCES COVID-19 (B.C.) Provincial Support

BC COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool:

Health Canada Handwashing Guidelines

Health Canada Personal Protective Equipment against COVID-19

Health Canada List of Disinfectants for use against COVID-19

Upcoming Events

BC Weightlifting Association hosts multiple events each year for athletes, coaches and officials. Please refer to the list below for more information on upcoming workshops, sanctioned competitions, club events and courses.

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Competition Results

Check out the latest results from our Junior, Senior and Masters Olympic Weightlifting Competitions!

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