55-Plus Winter Games on P.E.I. cancelled due to COVID-19
'They are at high risk'
The 55-Plus Winter Games scheduled to happen February in Cornwall, P.E.I., have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
All Islanders over the age of 55 are normally eligible to compete in the annual provincial games, which include curling, hockey, cross-country skiing, skating, squash, swimming, badminton and bowling. There's also crokinole, cribbage, pool, darts and more.
"Since our demographic is 55 and older, we do get a lot of participants coming out in that older age group ... they are at high risk," said Victoria Leard, the executive director of the games.
Leard said even in a "good" year, organizers are concerned about the spread of colds and flu among participants.
The events take extensive planning including booking spaces and recruiting and training volunteers, she added, and they didn't want to have to put in all the work only to have to cancel the games.
'Look forward to every year'
Last year about 700 people participated in the winter games on P.E.I.
We really want our membership to stay active and keep going with their activities.— Victoria Leard
Some people who enjoy participating in the games every year have expressed disappointment, Leard said.
"This is kind of what they look forward to every year," she said.
Last year's 55-plus Summer Games were cancelled in September 2020.
Summer games planned for P.E.I. in August are still scheduled to go ahead, Leard said.
The provincial games serve as a qualifier for the national 55-Plus Games, held every two years. They were postponed from August 2020 to August 2022.
Cornwall has committed to host the winter games in 2022 instead, if the pandemic allows.
"We are hopefully hoping to come back and have our events as normal and we really want our membership to stay active and keep going with their activities."
Leard said organizers will take this time to figure out ways of reaching more people on the Island and making the games better and more inclusive to all regions of P.E.I.
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With files from Sheehan Desjardins