Saskatchewan’s vaccination uptake key to allowing fans to attend Rider games

There’s one thing that is holding up the entire 2021 CFL season at this point — when will fans be allowed to attend games?

As the third wave of COVID-19 spreads across Canada, it certainly can be difficult to see fans in the stands any time soon. However, as vaccination uptake across the country rises, odds improve that we will see some sort of attendance capacity at some point.

When? Well, that depends on how many people are getting vaccinated.

“Obviously they have protocols for return to play. That relates to players and teams,” said Saskatchewan’s chief medical officer Dr. Saqib Shahab.

“We again have to look at the population update, one dose and then second dose, and then very cautiously allow outdoor gathering limits to increase over the summer. We’re obviously also monitoring both vaccine uptake, local transmission rates, and how those gatherings are structured.”

The Saskatchewan government is still confident it can get the majority of the population vaccinated by the middle of summer. They also believe everyone over the age of 18 should have their first dose of the vaccine by the middle of May.

If that actually happens or not has yet to be seen, but it would certainly suggest that Mosaic Stadium could welcome fans at some point.

“We certainly are actively looking at what is allowed over the summer,” said Shahab.

At this point, it’s unclear when the CFL season will start, but a delay does seem likely given the current state of affairs.

Saskatchewan’s health minister Paul Merriman had this message for Rider fans hoping to attend games this year.

“The best way to get the Riders back on the field, the best way we can go to our events is getting your vaccination done as soon as you possibly can. That is how we can open up these festivals and these things that we missed last year.”

Joel Gasson is a Regina-based sports writer, broadcaster and football fanatic. He is also a beer aficionado.