Restarting Blackline Events in a COVID-19 World
Airsoft and military simulations around the world came to a halt with the arrival of COVID-19. As health services have worked to keep people alive and governments put restrictions in place to reduce the spread of the virus, event organizers and venues have had to consider the impacts to their events. Safety is the number one priority at Blackline. Considering that, we wanted this post to lay out when you can expect events to start, the changes you'll see at Blackline, and what you should consider doing differently before attending.
When Will Events Start Up?
The situation around COVID-19 changes daily which can make it hard to formulate a prediction. However based on the current information available, we see two restrictions in resuming operations in Ontario: the number of people that can attend an event, and the operation of a venue where an event can take place.
Right now, the state of emergency laws prohibit groups or events larger than five people. This is our primary limiting factor and the one we'll continue to monitor in order to determine when we can resume operations. We're confident that when the law allows group sizes of 10+, we'll be able to run small events. Blackline has always completely segregated opposing forces and engagements are usually fought with a small number of personnel over very short times. We feel that the nature of these events combined with some additional administration means we can achieve appropriate physical distancing. As the permitted group sizes increase or when small team sports resume, the need for the extra administration will decrease and wider access to these events will become available.
We're also limited by venues. Businesses have a number of new health regulations they're required to comply with. As an example, golf courses have implemented arrival windows for players, doubled the amount of time between tee times, and taken measures to prevent golfers from touching flags or cups. We'll be speaking to venues as they come online to see what activities they'll permit.
All of that said, we'll continue to update this post as the situation changes and we'll adjust our stance accordingly.
What to Watch For
An increase to the maximum size of a gathering in Ontario
Permission for small team sports to resume
Announcements from venues about new operation procedures
What Will be Different at Blackline?
Face coverings are Now Mandatory - All participants must wear a face covering (mask, respirator, balaclava, etc.) at all times. You won't need a gas mask - any balaclava or neck gaiter will do. However it must be worn. This rule will be taken as seriously as eye protection, and infractions will be grounds for removal. This rule will be in effect until further notice. We've collected a list of decent face covering options that also look good.
Medic Rules will be Modified - Our high-touch medic rules will be shifted to allow minimal contact while still maintaining as much realism as possible.
Stay Home if You're Sick - If you feel ill, you should NOT attend an event. We always have roles that can be completed remotely and we will happily slot you into one of those. Additionally, Blackline will now ask you to leave if you appear to be sick at an event.
Our Refund Policy will Change - Credit will be offered to any individual that becomes ill in any way and cannot addend the event. Credits will also be offered to anyone who becomes sick during the event. You shouldn't have to choose between your money and the health of those around you.
We'll Adapt to Field Rules - Blackline uses airsoft fields, paintball fields, and private property to host our events. You may see different rules in effect on these sites based on government legislation. Parking, on-site registration, arrival windows, and kitting up areas may be set up differently to keep people distant. We'll adhere to any additional rules set out by our field partners.
What Should You Do Differently?
There are new high risk activities involved in attending any airsoft event. It's important you weigh the risk and take personal responsibility for your safety.
Get a Mask - They'll be required for Blackline, and they may be required at other events. They're also handy to have in general.
Carpooling - Being inside an enclosed space with anyone for an extended period of time puts you at risk of contracting COVID-19. Consider your travel partners carefully, keep carpool sizes low, and arrange transport before committing to buying a ticket.
Camping - Similar to being inside a car, sleeping inside a tent with others creates a risky environment. Consider your own tent, or sharing open air accommodations such as a tarp.
Sanitation - We won't be able to provide disinfecting wipes or hand sanitizer to our participants, so ensure you have some way to clean your hands before eating.
Everyone is making adjustments to the new world we're living in, and we hope that our changes make sense. If you have questions, concerns, or comments - feel free to drop them in the comments section below, or send us an email.