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Public Health increases COVID-19 protection for all users of indoor sporting facilities

Public Health increases COVID-19 protection for all users of indoor sporting facilities

Waterloo Region – Effective October 31, all persons responsible for businesses and organizations open for organized sports in indoor facilities located in Region of Waterloo will ensure additional groups provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19. Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang, Medical Officer of Health, has issued instructions under the Reopening Ontario Act to all such persons responsible requiring that anyone aged 18 or older who enters the facility, including those coaching, officiating, or volunteering, provide proof of vaccination unless a medical exemption applies. 

Activities related to organized sports have the potential to increase COVID-19 transmission. Close contact, heavy breathing, long exposure times, crowded indoor spaces, and masks removed during physical activity all contribute to increased risk of COVID-19 transmission. Requiring more groups to be protected with COVID-19 vaccinations will help reduce the risk of transmission in indoor sporting facilities while maintaining opportunities for sport.

The Province of Ontario requires proof of vaccination for all patrons aged 12 and older entering indoor sport and recreational facilities, but exempts those under 18 who enter only to participate in an organized sport. Through issuance of this letter of instruction, any coach, instructor, trainer, sports official (e.g., referee), organizer, or any other individual (e.g., volunteer)18 years of age and older participating or associated with the organized sport will also be required to show proof of vaccination upon entry to the facility.

“Delta continues to circulate in our community and it is highly transmissible,” said Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang, Medical Officer of Health. “Given that individuals such as coaches, officials and volunteers will have close and prolonged contact with youth who may be unvaccinated, extending the requirement for proof of vaccination to these individuals in indoor sports settings helps protect all those participating and reduces the risk for transmission in these settings.”

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