Starting October 1, anyone 12 years of age and older that wishes to enter an indoor sports facility in York Region must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Dr. Karim Kurji, the region’s Medical Officer of Health, issued a letter of instruction to sports facility owners on Wednesday, notifying them of the new measure.
As of 12:01 am on October 1, players, coaches, staff, volunteers, and spectators aged 12 and older must show that they are fully vaccinated, or provide a valid medical exemption, when entering an indoor sports facility.
While Ontario’s proof of vaccination system requires those attending indoor sporting events to be fully vaccinated, there are several exceptions.
Anyone under the age of 18 who is participating in an organized sport, including training and practices, are exempt, as are coaches, officials, and volunteers.
“Activities related to organized sports have the potential to enhance COVID-19 transmission,” said Patrick Casey, York Region’s director of corporate communications.
“Requiring more groups to be protected with COVID-19 vaccinations will help reduce this risk while maintaining opportunities for sport.”
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The letter of instruction was issued in response to current modelling, which predicts that York Region could see up to 430 COVID-19 cases per day by December.
According to the modelling, the region could see up to 44 hospitalizations of those under the age of 19 by the end of the year.
For the next several weeks, the region will focus on communication and education related to the policy. “Escalated measures,” including enforcement, will follow
“Protecting the health and well-being of our communities remain York Region’s number one priority as we continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Casey said.
“We recognize this requirement may cause inconvenience for some residents, businesses, and sports organizations.:
“However the good news is most York Region residents age 12 to 17 are already vaccinated; in fact, 75% of youth aged 12 to 17 are fully vaccinated and 82% have received a first dose.”