Indoor sports coaches, volunteers compelled to prove vaccinated status, under EOHU directive

The Chesterville Arena, one of two artificial ice facilities owned by rural North Dundas Township. Zandbergen photo, Nation Valley News

EASTERN ONTARIO — Local coaches and other indoor organized sports volunteers must confirm proof of their COVID-19 vaccination, under a letter of instruction issued Oct. 1 to arena and other facility owners by the Eastern Ontario Health Unit.

The requirement takes effect at 12:01 a.m. tomorrow (Monday, Oct. 4) and remains in place until further notice. Indoor sports facility operators must seek proof of vaccination from volunteers as young as 12.

In addition, the directive notes that indoor sport facilities must continue to comply with all other public health measures related to screening, physical distancing, use of personal protective equipment, and collection of contact information from every member of the public entering the premises.

However, players between the ages of 12 to 17 remain exempt from having to show proof of vaccination if they are entering a sports facility for the sole purpose of practising their sport.

“As the fourth wave of the pandemic causes cases in our region to increase, I am taking these measures to keep children and youth in our communities safe,” says Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health at the EOHU. “Given that children under 12 can’t get vaccinated against COVID-19 at the moment, the best way to protect them is to ensure that the adults around them are.”

Acknowledging that organized sports may take children outside its area of jurisdiction, the EOHU says it has been consulting with neighbouring health units, and that “several” plan on issuing similar instructions.

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