2021 Return to Play Protocol


The principal purpose of this document is to provide a required framework and general recommendations to the BOMBA community, during the global COVID-19 pandemic, for the safe return to baseball.

This document provides guidance on how baseball can return when it is deemed safe to do so by the Province of Ontario, City of Burlington and public health authorities.  In some circumstances, when guidelines differ between governing bodies we have implemented the stronger regulations.  

All participants and their parents/guardians in the case of minors, will be advised on the requirements and recommendations contained in BOMBA’s Return to Play prior to attending any BOMBA activity. 

General and Waivers

For purposes of this document “Participants” shall include players, coaches, managers, umpires, officials and volunteers.  “Spectators” shall include parents, guardians, siblings, family members and friends of participants, and any non participant who is associated with BOMBA.

“Activity” shall include, game, practice, training & development, skills and drills, meeting or any gathering held by BOMBA

Participants and Spectators not following these protocols may result in disciplinary action from BOMBA, up to and including, expulsion from BOMBA and Baseball Ontario.

All participants will be expected to sign the BOMBA waivers prior to being permitted to attend a BOMBA activity.

A copy of the waivers can be found on the BOMBA website

Screening/Diagnosed with COVID- 19 / Return from COVID- 19

Self-screening through https://covid-19.ontario.ca/self-assessment/ is required by all participants and spectators, prior to attending BOMBA activity.  Anyone who fails the screening protocol may not attend the BOMBA activity. 

A person, who is identified as part of an at-risk group, but otherwise passes the screening questions is discouraged from participating in in-person baseball activities, but they are not considered to have failed the screening protocol.

Participation by those in high-risk demographics (elderly and those with chronic conditions or who are immune compromised) is discouraged.

Coaches/team managers will receive additional training on how to recognize the signs and symptoms of Covid 19

Any participant or spectator who begins to present with any COVID 19 symptom during a BOMBA activity will be excused from the activity and required to leave the park/facility immediately.  Any piece of equipment that they used will be cleaned immediately and removed from circulation for the duration of the activity. 

A Participant may not attend a BOMBA Activity if they answer YES to any of the following situations

  • You are experiencing any of the COVID-19 related symptoms as per the Ontario Ministry of Health’s guidelines
  • You have received a positive COVID-19 test
  • Someone in your household has COVID-19 symptoms or is waiting for test results after experiencing symptoms
  • A person in your household has tested positive for COVID-19
  • You have come into Close Contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19

In the event you have been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19, or have received a positive test for COVID-19, you must not attend a BOMBA Activity for a period of no less than 14 days and must be cleared by the appropriate medical authorities prior to attending any BOMBA activity.  You must notify the BOMBA Administrator in the event you attended a BOMBA Activity in the 14 days preceding your positive test.

Confirmation of the clearance needs to be provided via email to the BOMBA Administrator prior to returning. 

Attendance

At no point will a BOMBA activity exceed the number of attendees (including players, coaches, umpires, association officials, volunteers, parents and other family members) noted as the maximum number by the Province of Ontario, or City of Burlington, or public health authority.

The number of participants involved should be reviewed and kept down to the absolute essential (e.g. Team members, Officials, Umpires, Event staff, Volunteers, etc.)

Spectators will be expected to bring their own chairs for personal use and sit ensuring proper social distancing from the participants and other spectators.  BOMBA will recommend spectators are seated along the foul ball lines, and away from the participant areas.

Spectators are encouraged not to wander to other areas of the park in which the diamond is located.

If the Province of Ontario and/or municipalities or public health authorities establish different Zones of reopening in different areas of the province, the Zone established for the municipality where the team is located (i.e. home diamond) applies to that team. Travel by a team to another area of the province does not mean that the team can rely on the Stage of reopening of that other area.

Coaching staff will keep an attendance tracker (written or electronic through the Baseball Ontario OnDeck app) for all practices, games and in-person activities including all participants and spectators in attendance, including name and contact information (e-mail or phone).

If the attendance tracker is done in written form, within 24 hours of the event, the coaching staff will provide their BOMBA Convenor/Director with a copy of the attendance tracker for each activity.

BOMBA will produce the attendance tracker to Baseball Ontario, their Affiliated Association, Select Loop or Public Health upon request.

If the attendance tracker is done through the Baseball Ontario OnDeck app, Baseball Ontario will provide the information to the relevant Member Organization(s) and Public Health upon request.

https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=RrxMSgYUUU6qCGA7LgsgAu6wBp9BQ0VOmVhcOQ0_QsNURFAwWkhSN0VIUjdGR0NZSk9HVkhTNDJDRS4u

For The YARD the following attendance tracker must be used.  https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfnlfVb72SzFDtXQ7wLI-GyF1hKu2kLJBoLongbBnLZeW8-NQ/viewform

Participants and Spectators attending a BOMBA activity

  • No spitting, including tobacco and other products
  • No sunflower seeds or chewing gum
  • No sharing of water/energy drink bottles or food
  • No shared water jugs, coolers or drink dispensers
  • No handshakes, fist or chest bumps, high fives, hugs, kisses, etc.

Cleaning/Sanitization

(the following apply whereof the guidelines refer to cleaning, sanitizing, disinfecting, wiping or similar terms):

Teams are to have a 70% (or higher) alcohol hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes (or acceptable option) readily available at all times, and especially in any medical treatment areas.

General cleaning shall be done with microfiber cloths and appropriate cleaning products.

All cleaning personnel (not including those individuals who work for the municipality or facility owner, who shall follow whatever guidelines are established by their employer) shall be protected appropriately with face covering and protective gloves at a minimum. This applies to the cleaning of facilities and/or equipment in accordance with the requirements of this document.

At 15U and below, only adults shall perform cleaning/sanitization functions. At 16U and above, players and adults may perform cleaning/sanitization functions.

BOMBA strongly recommends the use of face masks by all coaching and training staff.

Those not involved in the cleaning/sanitization shall stay a minimum of 2 metres away from the cleaning/sanitization activities.

Cleaning/sanitization products will not be used by or stored within access of young children.

Where this document requires the use of protective gloves, this shall mean PPE gloves and not batting gloves or baseball mitts.

Each Team will receive the following PPE:

  • 1 Large spray bottle of sanitizer
  • 2 Bottle of hand sanitizer (to be placed at each dugout door)
  • 1 supply of sanitizer wipes
  • Microfiber clothes for sanitizing the equipment
  • 6 disposable face masks
  • Garbage bags (to contain all used disposable PPE)

Implementation of Safe Physical Distance

Maintain minimum of 2 metres distancing during physical activity, including warm ups, pre-game and post-game activities, wherever possible.

Use of dugouts and benches should be avoided where safe physical distance cannot be maintained.  Use as much space as required outside the dugout (but in safe areas outside of the field of play) to maintain adequate physical distance.

If safe physical distance cannot be maintained, face coverings must be worn.

Avoid congestion at points of entry to the diamond (i.e. gates, dugout doors, etc.) to allow maintenance of 2 metres distancing among participants.

If spectators are in attendance, specific spectator measures for physical distancing shall be set as required/recommended by the local public health authorities.

A Flow pattern will be implemented to avoid potential congestion areas.  In dugouts, players will exit the dugout using the door closest to home plate.  They will enter the dugout using the door farthest from home plate.  Players will wait to enter/exit until they can proceed leaving a minimum of 2 meters between players.

Use of Face Masks / Face Coverings

Players and coaches are required to wear non-medical face masks or face coverings while off the field of play including while on the bench during the game.

Players are encouraged to wear non-medical face masks or face coverings during play.

Coaches in the field of play must wear non-medical face masks or face coverings when they approach a player, other coach or umpire. Coaches are encouraged to wear non-medical face masks or face coverings in other situations.

Establishment of Hygiene Standards

Wash hands at least every inning for games or every 30 minutes at practices after handling shared equipment for at least twenty (20) seconds.

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with your hands.

Sneeze and/or cough in a tissue or the internal crease of the elbow. Avoid contact of hands with personal respiratory points.

All potentially infected waste (i.e. disposable tissues, masks, protective gloves, etc.), hygiene material, rubbish, debris, etc., in all shared spaces (diamonds, dugouts, washrooms, change rooms, etc.) shall be disposed of safely at the end of the in-person baseball activity.

Encourage good hand washing techniques.

https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/diseases-conditions/reduce-spread-covid-19-wash-your-hands.html

Encourage proper mask usage: How to wear a mask safely https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/diseases-conditions/covid-19-safely-use-non-medical-mask-face-covering.html

Venues

Scheduling of diamonds must allow for a minimum of 30 minutes between the conclusion of the prior event and the start of the subsequent event to allow for: (1) the team(s) involved in the prior event to clean/sanitize equipment, dispose of garbage from common areas, and have all team members vacate the facility BEFORE (2) the team(s) involved in the subsequent event enter the facility and clean/sanitize common areas; without crossover between the teams participating in the two events.

In the case of games, BOMBA will establish appropriate "drop dead" or "no new inning" rules to allow for safe crossover between events.

After the activity and cleaning are completed, all participants and spectators are to leave the area. 

Participants, and spectators for a subsequent activity shall remain in their motor vehicle in the parking lot until participants, and spectators from the prior activity have returned to their motor vehicles. BOMBA will designate appropriate waiting areas for any participants, and spectators not arriving in motor vehicles.

For games, both the home team and the visiting team are responsible for cleaning/sanitizing their dugout before and after games. It is recommended that change rooms/clubhouses not be used.

Washrooms are to be open and accessible only at the discretion and direction of the municipality or facility owner where the venue is located.

Thorough disinfection of common spaces before/after use including:

  • Frequently touched areas of dugouts, including aluminum benches, bat racks and helmet racks
  • Door handles, fence/gate latches
  • Any other spaces that come into frequent touch

Establishment of sanitation stations alcohol-based hand sanitizers at all entrances/exits to diamonds and complexes.

Provide disinfectant wipes and advise event staff and volunteers to disinfect door handles, fence or gate latches, and any other spaces that come into frequent touch in all areas several times per day. Where the municipality or facility owner does not provide maintenance staff to complete these duties several times per day, it is the responsibility of the BOMBA to do so.

Thunderstorms

If a baseball event is interrupted by thunder, participants, and spectators are to return to their motor vehicles until the baseball activity is cancelled or able to resume. If someone does not have a motor vehicle, they may shelter in a safe location but must maintain a minimum of 2 metres distancing from others, if possible.

Training, Skills & Drills, Practice   

Full team practices (full team to mean those individuals who appear on one team roster) and those practices can include scrimmages. 

Games can be played, however: Leagues (loops) must contain no more than 50 players in total. Players are not yet permitted to play against players outside of their league or group. Coaches and Umpires are not included in the limit of 50. 

Spectators at all sporting events will be subject to gathering limits and physical distancing measures, with assigned seating where possible. Currently, we are recommending that spectators: 

  • Ensure physical distance from participants and between spectators 
  • Spectators are encouraged to bring their own chairs for personal use or bring disinfectant wipes to clean the area where they sit. Municipalities and/or facility owners may or may not be cleaning bleachers on a regular basis. 
  • Spectators are encouraged not to wander to other areas of the park in which the diamond is located. 

Equipment

Sharing of equipment such as batting helmets, catchers’ masks, or other equipment likely to have been exposed to respiratory droplets should be avoided. Each player should have his/her own bat, helmet, baseball mitt(s), batting gloves, rosin bags, etc. and store these items inside their personal bag when not in use.

Equipment that must be shared must be cleaned/sanitized between players' use.

Bats must be sanitized after each use.

Avoid personal clothing, equipment or electronics etc. being left in common places. Store inside personal bag always.

PPE may be worn at the discretion of the participant (recommended that it not be white or grey).

General equipment (eg. L-screens, field maintenance equipment, bases) must be wiped down between groups if it must be shared.

YARD Specific Guidelines

All guidelines listed in this document will apply to the YARD. 

Below are additional guidelines applicable to the use of the YARD

  • All viewing/parent areas will remain closed.
  • All change rooms and meeting rooms including access to any BOMBA office area will remain closed.
  • The fountain will not be accessible
  • Washrooms will be open
  • Players will be dropped off and enter the facility using door #1
  • All players will exit using door#2
  • Parents are required to remain in their vehicles and not enter the YARD

Sessions will give time for all players to leave the parking lot, coaches to complete cleansing the facility, and the next session to enter the facility.

After each team completes their group session, the Yard must be sprayed using the Electrostatic.

Coaches must verify that the cleaning has been properly completed.

For Camps, the participants will be onsite for the full day and the facility will be cleansed hourly.

Campers will bring their own lunches and will take home all garbage related to the lunch.

There will not be any sharing of drinks or food permitted.

At Door #1, a sanitization station will be established and everyone entering the facility will be expected to  sanitize their hands.

All equipment cleansing rules listed in this document apply to the YARD.

Coaches when feeding the pitching machine shall sanitize/clean between sessions.

The hitter may help return the balls to the buckets but must sanitize / clean their hands before touching the baseballs.

Baseballs will be sanitized /cleansed between sessions.

Currently we are preparing to Return to Play with Training Development, Skills and Drills.  The following sections are from Baseball Ontario and provide our guidelines for when we move to a Zone where organized practices and games are permitted. 

Pre-game

The two teams may share the field for pre-game warm up provided physical distancing is maintained. Each team shall stay in the outfield area on its side of the field.

Hitting whiffle balls in the outfield is not considered BP for purposes of the following bullet point.

Only one team shall be on the field at a time for BP (on the diamond), and Infield or infield/outfield Practice

All participants at the Pre-Game Home Plate Meeting are required to wear a face covering and maintain a minimum physical distance of 2 metres. 

Line up cards must be prepared but will not be physically shared - photos may be taken by scorekeepers etc. and the lineup card must be made available to show the umpire when requested.

Bats 

All Bats must be sanitized after each use.

Other Equipment

Masks worn by pitchers, when they so choose, will be assessed as per existing rules regarding distracting colours, etc. (recommended that it not be white or grey).

Rules of acceptable behaviour cannot be contravened.

No sharing of catcher's masks in warming up pitchers. If no catcher's mask is readily available, warm up pitches may be thrown to a player/coach who is standing, but not squatting.

A safety base may be used at first base. It is not mandatory to use it. The home team will determine if it is to be used for a particular game.

At 8U/9U, the circle to be used around the pitching machine shall be a circle with 12' diameter instead of the 8' diameter circle specified in the 8U/9U rules.

At 8U/9U, the offensive team coach feeding the pitching machine will wear a face covering and shall sanitize/clean their hands after every offensive inning.

Umpires

Ball/Strike umpire may work from behind the catcher as long as they are wearing a PPE mask or face covering.

Should the umpire chose the work behind the pitcher, they must remain at least 2 meters behind the pitcher if not wearing a face covering.

Umpires may hold additional game balls.

Umpires must use hand sanitizer every half inning.

Umpires in the field may wear PPE masks at their discretion.

Score Keepers/Pitch Counters

Should always work from a restricted area and keep safe distance from others and from each other.

Avoid paper scoring/pitch counting when possible. Prioritize electronic scoring programs as alternative.

Scoring equipment and microphones, if applicable, shall be thoroughly cleaned before and after use.

In-Game

Players shall not lick their fingers, blow on their hands or otherwise go to their mouth. When a pitcher violates this rule the umpire will stop the game, the pitcher will be required to sanitize his/her hands and the game ball will be replaced.

Tag plays are allowed, but the defensive player should vacate the area as soon as reasonably practicable following the tag.

When first base is occupied, the defensive player at first base must wear a PPE mask if the runner is being closely guarded / held at the base.

No Bat Boys/Girls shall be allowed.

Coaches

Team meetings, including pitching visits, shall maintain physical distance of minimum 2 metres.  Anyone attend the mound visit must be wearing a mask.

Use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) (visor or mask, gloves) must be used by trainers (or persons performing trainer function) when assessing an injury.

If a coach must approach an umpire, they must wear a face mask and maintain physical distancing of at least 2 metres.   Failure to do so may result in ejection.

While on offence, base coaches must always stay within their box, except to avoid a play being made in the coach's box. Any discussions between coaches and players (eg. batter visiting 3rd base coach; coach talking to runners, etc.) must maintain physical distancing of at least 2 metres and the coach must have wear a face covering.

Pitchers, catchers, spotters and bullpen coaches must always maintain a physical distance of 2 metres while pitchers are warming up in the bullpen.  Coaches/Spotters must wear masks

Travel

Local travel within your public health zone is permitted and among public health zones at the same level of Provincial restriction (Orange, Yellow and Green Zones have the same level of restriction for team sports).

Travel outside of your public health zone is not permitted to an area of lesser restriction.

Permits for travel out of province will be issued by the OBA Office in accordance with normal operating procedures, but will be withdrawn should restrictions prevent travel at the time of the event.

Competition

The protocols listed under General and Practice also apply to Competition.

Below are some competition specific protocols to be implemented by BOMBA.

Coaches Acknowledgement

I have read the Return to Play Protocols and understand that failure to follow these guidelines may result in not only my team not be able to receive permits but also will affect all of BOMBA’s teams from being able to receive permits.

Coach /Volunteer name (please print)____________________________________________________

Coach / Volunteer Signature____________________________________________________________

Division ____________________________________________________________________________

Team______________________________________________________________________________

Date________________________________________________________________________________

Upcoming Events


May. 16, 2021 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Board of Directors Meeting
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Jun. 19, 2021 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM

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