GUELPH – While the province left volunteers, coaches, instructors and sport officials out of its proof of vaccination requirement, the region’s top doctor has ordered that these individuals must show proof of vaccination at facilities in Wellington, Dufferin and Guelph.
Dr. Nicola Mercer, medical officer of health for Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health, issued a letter of instruction on Sept. 23 to add clarity around the province’s proof of vaccination requirement that came into effect Sept. 22.
Ontario Regulation 364/20 now mandates that patrons be fully-vaccinated in a number of high risk settings, including areas used for sports and recreational fitness.
That includes patrons 18 and older who are participating in organized sports, as well as spectators 12 and older.
With Mercer’s order, now everyone in a sports or fitness facility who is not medically exempt or ineligible will have to be vaccinated.
“Because these individuals are necessary for the operation of organized sports, they will have close and prolonged contact with vulnerable youth who are unvaccinated,” Mercer writes.
“As a result, and by way of this letter of instruction, I 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.”
This includes gyms, fitness/sporting/recreational facilities, dance studios, yoga studios, gymnastic centres, dojos/martial art studios, tennis clubs, pools, waterparks, and other premises where sporting events are played or watched or where recreational fitness activities or personal fitness training occurs, she states.
Mercer said the rate of COVID-19 cases in unvaccinated individuals is 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,” she said.
Individuals who do not comply with Mercer’s order could face a fine of $750. Businesses could face fines of $1,000 upon conviction for every day in which the offence occurs.
Maximum penalties are $100,000 and up to one year in jail for an individual, up to $500,000 and up to one year in jail for an individual who is a director or officer of a corporation, and up to $10 million for a corporation.
Questions about these instructions can be directed to the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health COVID-19 Call Centre at 519-822-2715 ext. 4020.
To view Mercer’s letter visit wdgpublichealth.ca.