REGINA -- New provincial COVID-19 guidelines that take effect Friday are forcing many group sports to change how they deliver their programs.

As of Friday, all team or group sports are suspended. Athletes 18 years and younger may continue practicing in groups of eight or fewer, must wear a mask and be at least three metres away from others.

Eric Bestvater, the owner and head coach of Rebels Cheerleading Athletics, said the new regulations mean the regular practices of teams larger than 12 can no longer happen and athletes will instead focus on individual skills.

“Our athletes in our sport do a lot of things that are impossible to do two or three metres apart, like the throws and the lifts and the tosses that we do,” Bestvater, said.

“The silver lining is, we’re still allowed to have the same number of coaches so they’ll get a little more one on one instruction, so hopefully we can take advantage of that.”

Bestvater said with over 100 members and a normal team made up of about 25 athletes, training time is being reduced in order to fit each group of eight into the building.

“It’s pretty disappointing not being able to do that this year, but it is a competitive sport and so being able to compete is a big part of it I think,” Bestvater said.

It’s a similar feeling being felt by the staff at Boss Athletics, who scrambled on Wednesday to reorganize their schedule.

“The main part and what we’re judged on at competition mostly is our building skills which is our stunts, putting people up in the air,” Boss Athletics co-owner Carley Weisbeck said.

Bestvater said there are several virtual competitions scheduled for the coming months, but says if the regulations stay the same they won’t be able to compete.

For FC Regina, the new regulations mean no games and limited practices. Instead of trying to make different accommodations the organization is halting all programs.

“We actually came to a decision that we are going to put the programming on pause right now, until December 17. Not just because of the guidelines not being clear, but also for the safety of our members,” FC Regina executive director TJ Singh said.

Singh encourages other sports groups to close for two weeks in order to protect members and help flatten the curve.

Weisbeck hopes residents follow the guidelines and help flatten the curve.

“We’re trying so hard to keep going an stay open and do all these things that are really hard for a small business in this time, and so we hope that everybody will just listen to what the government says so that we can get going as soon as we possibly can,” Weisbeck said.