The BC Hockey League has reportedly warned its teams that players and staff may be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to be able to play in some venues.
According to TheBreaker.news publisher Bob Mackin, the league’s executive committee sent a memo to all 18 teams on Friday stating that arenas and facilities in a number of communities may require all people using them to be vaccinated.
Per Mackin, the memo states: “The League is aware of a number of organizations that are investigating and implementing mandatory vaccination policies, including some arenas and facilities that teams may use. Where this arises, unvaccinated staff and players will be unable to play, practice or participate. Based on current information, the League expects that more organizations will be moving to requiring that any persons seeking to enter or use their premises/facilities will have to be fully vaccinated.”
“All personnel must provide government-approved proof of full vaccination 14 days prior to joining the team, be subject to daily screening questionnaires and provide proof of negative test before or upon arrival at main camp, after a significant absence from the team and on return from Christmas break. All information collected will be subject to the Personal Information Protection Act,” writes Mackin.
— theBreaker.news (@theBreakerNews) August 14, 2021
Unvaccinated players are also reportedly required to wear a full face shield and unvaccinated staff will also have to wear a mask on the bench at all times. In addition, anyone unvaccinated must also wear a mask in situations where physical distancing isn’t possible, including on the bus, during off-ice warm-up, in the dressing room and gym, and at team meetings and events.
The memo also states that fully vaccinated players have the choice of what face protection to wear – either a half-face shield, full face mask, or full wire cage, and that all personnel should continue to physically distance when possible.
“We are confident that our safety precautions will prevent this, but if it did occur, we would follow the same procedures as last year where we would notify the Provincial Health Office as well as the local health authority and the team and league would follow their direction. If quarantine and additional testing is required, it will be up to the team as to how they want to facilitate that,” said BCHL manager of communications and events Jesse Adamson when reached for comment on Saturday.
The situation with Wenatchee
As for the Wenatchee Wild, the Canada-US border is open for fully vaccinated American travellers to head north, but the crossing into the US is closed to non-essential travel until at least Aug. 21. The Wild plays its first game of the season on Oct. 9 at home against Penticton.
The game could certainly be in jeopardy if the Vees are unable to get across the border, but if it is open to Canadians going south, it’s fair to surmise that anyone travelling to The States will also be required to be fully vaccinated.
There’s still a lot of time between now and then, but it’s certainly something to keep an eye on as COVID-19 cases continue to rise on both sides of the border.