Toronto Public Health says it has issued a “letter of instruction” that requires anyone who is aged 12 or older and who wants to participate in indoor organized sports to provide proof of being fully immunized against COVID-19.
This includes players, coaches, caregivers, volunteers and officials who all must show proof of vaccination (or a valid medical exemption) along with identification, the local public health unit said.
The mandate comes into effect on Nov. 1.
Previously, the provincial government had excluded youth recreational sports (those under 18) when it released its vaccine policy guidelines.
However, over the last week, many local public health units, including York Region, Windsor-Essex, Huron Perth Public Health, Middlesex-London Health Unit, and Southwestern Public Health, took a harder line to include all those eligible to get vaccinated to show proof to play indoor sports.
Toronto is now one of the latest local public health units to implement a similar policy. It says the additional measure for proof of vaccination is “necessary to decrease the transmission of COVID-19 for all who play or attend organized sport indoors.”
The local public health unit said although some indoor sports organizations have already implemented a vaccination policy, this letter of instruction will create consistency across all organizations and facilities to ensure “the greatest protection possible in these environments.”
There have been COVID-19 outbreaks reported and linked back to youth sports, including some youth basketball tournaments held in Oshawa.
“We have seen COVID-19 cases and outbreaks linked to indoor sporting and recreational events,” Toronto’s medical officer of health Dr. Eileen de Villa said. “With one consistent vaccination policy — in addition to measures of self-protection — we decrease the risk of COVID-19 transmission in these settings and ensure these activities continue in the safest manner possible.”
— with files from The Canadian Press
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