January 31, 2023
Dr. Nicola Mercer, Medical Officer of Health and CEO of Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health has issued a letter of instruction regarding proof of vaccination requirements for persons entering facilities used for sport and recreational activities.
We are now experiencing a fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and seeing a rise in cases locally and across the province. In a report published by Public Health Ontario (covering the period from December 20, 2020 to August 7, 2021), the rate of COVID-19 cases in unvaccinated individuals was consistently higher compared to fully vaccinated individuals. COVID-19 will continue to pose a threat in our community as long as a significant number of people remain unvaccinated.
We need to remain vigilant to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 as much as possible. The new provincial proof-of-vaccination requirements, effective this week, apply to a number of high-risk settings including the indoor areas of facilities used for sports and recreational fitness activities. Ontario Regulation 364/20 now mandates that you require proof of identification and proof of being fully immunized (or proof of being entitled to an exemption) for:
Each patron, 18 years of age and older, who enters solely for the purpose of actively participating in an organized sport; and Each patron, 12 years of age and older, who enters for any other reason (e.g., as a spectator). Additional information about the provincial proof-of-vaccination requirements can be found in the Ministry of Health’s Proof of Vaccination Guidance for Businesses and Organizations under the Reopening Ontario Act.
Certain individuals, such as volunteers, coaches, instructors, and sport officials, are currently excluded from provincial proof-of-vaccination requirements. Because these individuals are necessary for the operation of organized sports, they will have close and prolonged contact with vulnerable youth who are unvaccinated. As a result, and by way of this Letter of Instruction, I (Dr. Nicola Mercer) am requiring proof of vaccination for individuals who support indoor organized sports (including recreational fitness activities), in addition to the individuals prescribed by provincial regulation. Requiring these individuals to be fully vaccinated provides enhanced protection for our community and further curbs the local risk associated with indoor organized sports.
AS MEDICAL OFFICER OF HEALTH FOR THE WELLINGTON-DUFFERIN-GUELPH HEALTH UNIT, I AM ISSUING THE FOLLOWING INSTRUCTIONS PURSUANT TO SCHEDULE 1, SECTION 2 (2.1) OF ONTARIO REGULATION 364/20: RULES FOR AREAS IN STEP 3 AND AT THE ROADMAP EXIT STEP – OF THE REOPENING ONTARIO (A FLEXIBLE RESPONSE TO COVID-19) ACT, 2020, S.O. 2020, c. 17
All Owners, Operators and Persons Responsible for facilities used for sports and recreational fitness activities that include an indoor area located in the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Health Unit, are instructed to:
1. Require proof of identification and proof of being fully vaccinated (or proof of being entitled to a medical exemption) for all individuals, 12 years of age and older, who support an indoor organized sport or recreational fitness activity, prior to or upon arrival at the facility. For greater certainty, this includes all volunteers, coaches, instructors, coordinators, trainers, officials, and organizers.
2. Develop a proof of vaccination plan that describes the measures and procedures which have been implemented or will be implemented in the facility, to ensure compliance with the proof of vaccination requirements listed above or as otherwise required by O. Reg. 364/20. It is expected that Owners, Operators, and Persons Responsible for facilities will already have systems in place to confirm proof of vaccination for patrons, including athletes/participants and spectators, in accordance with O. Reg. 364/20. Further, it is expected that all Owners, Operators, and Persons Responsible for facilities will continue to comply with all other public health measures including, but not limited to screening, physical distancing and use of personal protective equipment, as outlined in O. Reg. 364/20.
Please see the full Letter of Instruction for detailed definitions and instruction.