Today, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa issued a Letter of Instruction requiring all people age 12 and older who participate in indoor organized sports, including players, coaches, and officials, to provide proof of vaccination as an additional measure to reduce community COVID-19 transmission. This additional measure is necessary to decrease the transmission of COVID-19 for all who play or attend organized sport indoors, to protect our communities, and to keep vital sport and recreation opportunities as safe as possible. The Letter of Instruction comes into effect Monday, November 1.
The Letter of Instruction augments the Ministry of Health’s Proof of Vaccination Requirements for Businesses and Organizations .
The Letter of Instruction applies to persons, 12 years and older, who attend an indoor area of a facility for the purpose of:
- Actively participating in organized sports
- Coaching, caregiving at, volunteering at, or officiating organized sports
Each person will be required to provide identification and proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or a valid medical exemption each time they enter a facility.
In response to guidance issued by Toronto Public Health in September, many local organizations have instituted vaccination policies recognizing the need to protect players and all who participate in and enjoy indoor sport. This Letter of Instruction creates consistency across all organizations and facilities, and ensures the greatest protection possible in these environments. Resources and information for organizations implementing the proof of vaccine policy can be found on the City of Toronto’s website.
Sports activities, by nature and particularly while indoors, increase close contact with other participants. Heavy breathing without masks may expose individuals to aerosols and droplets, and can result in prolonged exposure in indoor spaces, especially when ventilation is not optimized. These are all factors that elevate the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Toronto Public Health has investigated many cases and outbreaks of COVID-19 related to organized sport since the start of the pandemic. Promoting and verifying proof of vaccination for all participants eligible for vaccination, including coaches and volunteers, are important steps to mitigating these risks.
The COVID-19 vaccine is the most important public health measure available and has been conclusively shown to reduce virus transmission, protect against severe consequences of COVID-19 and be highly effective with few contraindications and side effects. It is therefore critical that all persons responsible for businesses and organizations participating in organized sports within indoor facilities take every measure to promote vaccination and prevent COVID-19 transmission.
Information on how to get vaccinated is available on the City of Toronto’s COVID-19: How to Get Vaccinated webpage.
By issuing this Letter of Instruction, Toronto Public Health is taking the necessary steps to ensure the maximum protection for all involved in Indoor Sport. We have seen COVID-19 cases and outbreaks linked to indoor sporting and recreational events. With one consistent vaccination policy – in addition to measures of self-protection – we decrease the risk of COVID-19 transmission in these settings and ensure these activities continue in the safest manner possible.
– Dr. Eileen de Villa, Medical Officer of Health