Stratford News COVID-19 immunization rules being tightened for indoor youth sports SHARE ON: Casey Kenny, staff Wednesday, Oct. 6th, 2021 (Image supplied by Vista Radio Digital). Health units in Southwestern Ontario are going a step above provincial recommendations for people entering sports and recreational facilities. On October 31st anyone over the age of 12 will soon have to show proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Huron Perth Public Health, the Middlesex-London Health Unit and Southwestern Public Health officials announced the additional measures Wednesday afternoon. Proof of vaccination will be required from anyone who goes into an indoor area of a sports or recreational to participate in, coach, officiate, or watch organized sports. Officials say the reason for the new regulation is because the virus can spread more easily between people who are taking part in sports. The province recently announced it recommends that proof of vaccination be required for anyone 18 years or older. “Indoor sports increase the risk of spreading COVID-19,” says Dr. Chris Mackie, Medical Officer of Health with the Middlesex-London Health Unit. “We have seen outbreaks in these settings across Ontario, and immunization is the solution if we want sports to continue.” “The goal of this instruction is to reduce the risk of serious illness transmitted between players, coaches, and their families cheering them on from the stands. Organized sports are community events – we need to balance protecting our community, while finding ways to safely enjoy the activities we are passionate about,” says Dr. Joyce Lock, Medical Officer of Health at Southwestern Public Health. “These additional protective measures will make it safer for everyone entering a facility for organized sports, whether to play, practice, coach, volunteer, or watch,” says Dr. Miriam Klassen, Medical Officer of Health, Huron Perth Public Health.