As promised yesterday, the local medical officer of health issued an order today requiring coaches and instructors to provide proof of vaccination before entering indoor sports and recreation facilities in the Simcoe-Muskoka region.
Dr. Charles Gardner, medical officer of health for the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit issued a letter of instruction today requiring proof of vaccination by Nov. 25 anyone 12 years old or older who is coaching, teaching, instructing, volunteering or officiating for organized sports.
The province requires spectators to provide proof of vaccination, but does not require the same proof from coaches and officials.
Youth under 18 years old participating in sports and recreation are still not required to show proof of vaccination by the province nor the health unit. Some sports organizations have added their own rules about vaccination for youth participants in addition to those decided by the province and health unit.
School sports are exempt from Gardner's latest order.
Gardner said yesterday during the briefing part of the reason for his new order is to help protect children participating in sports who cannot get vaccinated.
“Sport and recreational fitness activities provide physical and mental health benefits to participants," said Gardner in a news release. "However, many of these activities are high-intensity and involve heavy breathing, prolonged close contact and lack of masks for source control, putting individuals at greater risk for COVID-19 transmission."
The sports and recreation facilities will be responsible for checking vaccine receipts.
Coaches and volunteers will have to start showing proof of vaccination on Nov. 25, leaving enough time for unvaccinated people to get both doses of vaccine and be fully vaccinated when the order comes into effect.
The rule will apply to all indoor sports and recreation facilities in Simcoe County, Barrie, Orillia, and Muskoka District.
You can read the full letter of instruction on the health unit website here. The same rules for medical exemption will apply as are already included in the Reopening Ontario Act.
Medical officers of health may issue letters of instruction to implement temporary public health measures according to the Health Protection and Promotion Act.