The Western Hockey League continues to closely monitor the public health developments regarding COVID-19. The safety of players, officials, staff, fans, and the general public, remains of the utmost importance, according to a statement issued by the league. The WHL is taking all necessary precautions, as advised by Canadian and U.S. health authorities, to mitigate potential spread of COVID-19.
Medical and training staff of all 22 WHL member clubs have been provided with information from their regional health authorities advising on the transmission of COVID-19 and common symptoms associated with the virus. In the event players or personnel begin exhibiting symptoms consistent with COVID-19, they are to contact club medical staff immediately.
The WHL is advising players and club personnel to maintain good hygiene practices, including regular and thorough washing of hands with soap and water, or cleansing with alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
In an effort to minimize contact, the WHL is advising all Clubs and officials to follow a number of recommendations to minimize contact:
- Elimination of handshakes between teammates, opponents, officials;
- No sharing of water bottles or towels on benches or penalty box areas;
- Avoid direct contact with fans, including high-fives, handshakes, and autographing of items.
Standard WHL Media Policy defines club dressing rooms as restricted areas. All media opportunities are to be conducted in designated media areas outside club dressing rooms.
The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has assessed the public health risk associated with COVID-19 as low for Canada. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated that the immediate health risk in the United States is low for general public, who are unlikely to be exposed to this virus at this time. COVID-19 is transmitted between people in close contact with one another (within approximately six feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. COVID-19 is also transmitted from contact with infected surfaces or objects.
For more information on COVID-19, please visit any of the following public health authority websites:
Public Health Agency of Canada – https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection.html
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/