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Richmond United halts soccer program to protect community

Richmond United could still offer physically-distanced, non-contact session, but decided against it
Richmond United has decided to cancel the remainder of its 2020 programs. Photo submitted

One of Richmond’s two youth soccer clubs has decided to shut down the last week of its programming after the latest pandemic restrictions rolled out.

Richmond United made the move last week, despite youth sports still being allowed to conduct physically-distanced, non-contact sessions.

The hammer came down last week from provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, who halted all adult team sports and restricted youth play to non-competitive, in a bid to slow the spread of COVID.

However, Richmond United, recognizing there was just a week to go until the end of their 2020 programs, felt that shutting up shop early was the responsible thing to do.

“The COVID numbers are increasing daily and we all need to do our part to help keep everyone safe,” said the club’s director of soccer operations, Mandhir Punia.

“We are very fortunate that our strict safety measures have been followed by everyone and we have not had to isolate or quarantine any teams.

“At this point, going into the winter break, missing 10 days of soccer makes the most sense for the health and safety of everyone. We are doing our part to reduce the risk.”

Punia said the club hopes to extend its season programming by the lost 10 days at the end of the season in the spring, depending on the ongoing pandemic.

The News reported two weeks ago how the Richmond Jets Minor Hockey Association decided to scale back its operations to practice-only, prior to the new order coming in last week.