Spectators kept out of Halifax rinks because of COVID-19 can now watch games and events online, as the city retracted its ban on recording and live streaming in facilities on Wednesday.
According to an update from the city, the change comes following “intense interest” from parents who wanted to watch their kids play—even virtually.
COVID restrictions loosened on Monday, allowing sports games to take place again, but without fans.
“It wasn’t that long ago before kids in Halifax weren’t playing hockey at all and now they can play hockey, so I just ask the parents to be patient,” said Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, in a briefing on Tuesday.
“When it’s safe, we’ll get parents back into the stands.”
But some hockey parents weren’t willing to wait that long.
Liddy Wallace is one who is allowed in the stands. She’s the volunteer health and safety representative for her 8-year-old daughter’s hockey team, so she can go into the rink while most others can’t. She wanted to live stream the games in a private Facebook group for other parents, many of whom sit in their cars in the parking lot while their kids skate around.
But she found out recording and live streaming wasn’t allowed in Halifax arenas, to “protect the privacy of participants,” according to a statement from the city. It said the policy had been in place for many years.
“It’s just disappointing,” she told The Signal. “I think it’s an old rule and times are changing,” she added, saying more parents want to watch their kids play than are worried about privacy.
She started a petition, which over 1,700 people signed. Some were grandparents and other extended family, who don’t live in Halifax and weren’t able to watch many games in person, even before the pandemic. They were looking forward to the chance to watch online.
Wallace is glad the city took notice of the social media protest and changed the rule. They worked with Hockey Nova Scotia to accommodate the “interest and desire to be able to live stream games especially in light of current circumstances,” according to the update from the city.
“It really just opens it up to parents who are sitting wondering what’s going on,” said Wallace. “It could bring so much joy.”
Live streaming is now also permitted for other activities at facilities in Halifax, including ringette and figure skating.
Signs will be placed in arenas to let people know that they might be recorded.
About the author
Sarah Moore is a journalist from Calgary who is working in Halifax.