Hockey Manitoba rep shares thoughts on new vaccine mandates in sports

A representative from Hockey Manitoba (HM) shared his thoughts about the new public health orders with 680 CJOB on Thursday.

As per the new public health rules, children who are unable to receive the COVID-19 vaccine must be accompanied by a vaccinated adult. And if the parent is not vaccinated, they cannot enter a sports facility.

Peter Woods, executive director of Hockey Manitoba, zeroed in on the issue, telling CJOB it “becomes problematic at some stages with young children that wouldn’t be able to accompany (their parents into) the facilities.”

“Those parents that haven’t been diligent, we certainly feel for them. But it’s necessary to get that vaccination, as we all know, to ensure the safety of everyone,” he said.

Starting Friday, Manitobans who want to catch a sporting event or visit a recreational centre must be fully vaccinated, with the exception of those who are ineligible for the vaccine.

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The province’s top doctor, Brent Roussin, announced these new public health orders on Aug. 24, alongside Manitoba’s former premier, Brian Pallister.

Read more: Manitoba brings back mask mandate, requires vaccination for some government employees

Roussin said these new orders are being put into action in an effort to prevent a fourth wave of COVID-19 in the province.

“Ensuring that people are fully immunized before attending higher-risk events, activities and services will help reduce community spread of the virus,” Roussin said.

These new orders will directly affect coaches, parents, kids, and volunteers of various sporting events, such as hitting the ice for hockey.

Read more: Hiring, keeping staff the next battle for some Manitoba businesses hit hard by COVID-19

Hockey Manitoba may be very understanding of the new rules but Woods said he has heard quite a lot of push-back.

“There’s some that feel that way because they wouldn’t be able to enter the facility if they don’t have a vaccination at this point, and they’d be 42 days away from actually doing that,” Woods said.

“Vaccines are our protection against the fourth wave, vaccines are our protection against future lockdowns, vaccines are how we get our lives back,” said former premier Pallister the day the new rules were announced.

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“In a general sense, Manitoba has delayed the onset of each wave. But when it has come, it has hit us intensely,” Pallister said.

Woods hopes the vaccine push-back doesn’t fall at the feet of hard-working volunteers and coaches.

“There’s a lot of requirements for them and I don’t think they signed up for a lot of these issues but we certainly applaud and appreciate everyone that makes a contribution to our programs.”

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