On Aug. 30, Curling Canada announced that the organization will require mandatory vaccinations to attend events.
Athletes, fans, volunteers, media and event staff above the age of 12 will have to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to participate in, or attend, Curling Canada-affiliated events.
The policy was implemented immediately and will extend to all events put on by Curling Canada, including in-person meetings and championships, regardless of location.
“Above all else, we believe this is necessary to provide the safest possible environment for everyone who participates in our events, and that point can’t be emphasized more strongly,” said Katherine Henderson, chief executive officer of Curling Canada.
The Yukon Curling Association will be following the lead of the national sports body.
“We can’t send athletes unless they are vaccinated so we have to have them vaccinated to attend our events as well,” said Laura Eby, executive director, Yukon Curling Association.
This means prospective Yukon teams that want to attend the Scotties, Brier, mixed curling, and the junior tournaments have to be double vaccinated before playdowns.
“They’d have to be double vaccinated before they entered any of our events,” said Eby.
The playdowns for the Brier and Scotties teams in the Yukon will be from Dec. 16 to 19. Eby said those players will need to be double vaccinated, plus wait the two weeks before competing.
Eby, who skipped Team Yukon at the 2021 Scotties Tournament of Hearts, said the mandatory vaccine mandate from Curling Canada did not come as a surprise.
“It’s important, obviously, for the health and safety of the athletes but it’s also cost-effective,” said Eby. “When they held the Scotties and Brier last year, they had to pay for a series of testing for every athlete during the whole competition. It was an expensive venture.”
There will be options available to play, said Eby, for those people who have valid reasons as to why they cannot be vaccinated.
“There are exceptions but generally everyone has to be double vaccinated,” said Eby.
Eby said the Yukon Curling Association board was all in favour of the Curling Canada decision and that they haven’t received negative feedback.
“I can’t see it being a big issue and of course if somebody isn’t vaccinated for a valid reason we will look at that too,” said Eby.
Regular league play will not be affected by the Curling Canada rule, said Eby.
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