REGINA — After tense public pressure over the last week, the Saskatchewan Roughriders have announced that a COVID-19 vaccine mandate is coming to Mosaic Stadium very soon.
In a statement issued Monday morning, the Riders said they will be requiring fans to be fully vaccinated or have proof of a negative COVID test in order to attend games at Mosaic Stadium.
“In consultations with local medical health officers this past week, they voiced their support to begin requiring proof of vaccination at Roughrider games,” said president Craig Reynolds.
Fans unable to receive the vaccine, such as those under the age of 12 or those with medical or religious reasons, will be exempt from the vaccination requirement.
Instead, partially vaccinated or totally unvaccinated individuals will be asked to provide a negative COVID test taken within 48 hours of game day.
“We continue to strongly encourage all of our fans to get fully vaccinated for the safety of themselves and others,” said Reynolds.
Reynolds also said that fans will be encouraged to wear masks at games, as an added layer of protection.
Reynolds said the decision was made after consultation with stakeholders, who decided “this is the right decision for our Club and for our fans” due to rising case numbers and concerns about the Delta variant.
The announcement follows a large swell of support for a vaccine mandate from the public last week, which included calls from season ticket holders and local sports personalities, and even a Twitter petition.
Health Minister Paul Merriman indicated during a media appearance last week that vaccination mandates would be implemented at the discretion of the franchise, not the provincial government.
Further details on how the stadium will be accepting proof of vaccination have yet to be announced, but the Riders set a target start date of Sept. 17 for the new rules.
The franchise was one of two holdouts on the vaccine mandate in the CFL last week, alongside the Edmonton Elks.
The Elks also announced a mandatory vaccination policy this morning, completing the list of CFL teams with measures in place.