Curling Canada will impose harsh penalties should anyone step outside its proposed competition bubble in Calgary, CBC Sports has learned.
The national sport federation announced last week it will hold both the men’s and women’s national championships, as well as mixed doubles national, the men’s world championships over a number of weeks starting February stretching into April.
Two Grand Slam of Curling events will also take place at the Markin McPhail Arena at Canada Olympic Park. Any player or coach who leaves the Calgary curling bubble without clearance for any reason during the Scotties or Brier, or invites a non-participant into the bubble, will not only be disqualified from competition immediately, but that individual or individuals will also be suspended from competitive play until July 2022. That means no Olympics in Beijing 2022.
The team will be taken out of the bubble immediately and be sent home at their own expense. Furthermore, the team will not receive any further funding or compensation from the event, and will not receive any National Team Program funding the next two seasons if they are part of the program. The team will also not be allowed to participate in any other events in the bubble.
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Life in the curling bubble
In two nearly 40-page documents, Curling Canada has outlined what life in the Calgary curling bubble will look like for athletes and coaches during the Scotties and Brier.
The Scotties, according to this document, is set to begin Feb. 19 with the championship to be played Sunday, Feb. 28. The Brier will run from March 5-14, according to the document.
There will be three different zones within the bubble, including green, blue and red levels that all carry varying degrees of clearance.
Should any person with credentials for any of those zones start showing symptoms of COVID-19, they must immediately self-isolate and contact Curling Canada’s medical team —at that point they’ll be evaluated by Curling Canada’s physician.
If they test positive, the person will go into isolation “in a location that has been designated by the Curling Canada medical team as a safe and secure isolation area, and to refrain from contact with other persons until the confirmation of Covid-19 positive/negative status is established. In the event the person is acutely ill or medically unstable, Curling Canada’s medical team shall arrange appropriate clinical follow up treatment and care,” the document says.
There will be daily temperature and symptom checks for all participants entering the zones. Every person in the bubble will have to download the Federal Government’s COVID Alert App.
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Athletes and coaches will receive access to the Green Zone, which allows them access to the “safe hotel,” they’ll be staying in, the arena and ice surface and other boundaries within the bubble.
The Blue Zone is mostly reserved for the host broadcast crew (TSN) and they are to enter the arena through a separate entrance. And finally the Red Zone is reserved for officials, volunteers and media — they will not be allowed to enter the field of play and will also have their own entrance to the arena.
Prior to arriving in Calgary to compete in the championships, curlers will have to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test within three days of arrival and then once on the ground, will be immediately subjected to another test.
Curling Canada is also suggesting curlers go into somewhat of their own isolation period 14 days prior to getting on the plane to attend the events.
Teams have to go directly from the airport to the host hotel upon arrival.
“You are not permitted to stop at any other site between the hotel and Hub City/Bubble arena including, but not limited to, restaurants (drive-thru or pick-up) and grocery stores,” the document says in bolded letters.
Curlers and coaches will all be staying in their own rooms and are not allowed to have any family members, guests or any other personnel inside their rooms during competition. However, team members can meet in their own rooms.
Baby and caregiver
Nursing-mother competitors will be allowed to bring their baby and a caregiver into the green zone with them.
As for food, curlers and coaches have a number of options that include eating inside the hotel restaurant, physically distanced, room service and getting contactless delivery “with a specified drop off location in the hotel lobby.”
A dinner out on the town is not permitted.
Should curlers need groceries, prescriptions and other products they will have to make arrangements “facilitated by Curling Canada.”
Curlers will have to arrive at the venue dressed to play as the locker rooms will be closed.
“Each team on each draw will have a small carpeted section backstage to change shoes and store equipment. This area will be secure,” the document says.
Teams throwing the red stones will arrive 55 to 70 minutes prior to the game. They will practise first. Then the second team will arrive 40 to 55 minutes prior to play and will then take to the ice to practice.
During the game, because of new rules regarding where players can be on the ice, Curling Canada’s time clock operation will take into account the time to get ready to deliver in the new traffic flow.
There will be designated fifth-end break areas for the teams.