Saskatchewan premier Scott Moe wants to fill Mosaic Stadium for the Riders home games in 2021, especially the opener on Friday, August 6.
The green and white host the B.C. Lions to kick-off their schedule in the first football game at the green jewel since November 17, 2019. The full capacity for Mosaic Stadium checks in at 33,350.
“It’ll look exactly what Saskatchewan people want it to look like: there will be no restrictions on the number of people that will be able to attend. In saying that, there may be people that are possibly hesitant to go into a stadium with 25,000, 30,000 or 33,000 people in there,” Moe said during a video conference.
“I actually personally think they likely will be able to fill the stadium. I’m going to go to the opening game. Cheer on the greatest football team in this country and likely in the world. And as they embark on the season to return the Grey Cup back to its rightful home here in Regina, it’s been in Winnipeg far too long, an extended period of time, which is really a travesty.”
The Blue Bombers beat the Riders 20-13 in the 2019 Western Final and went on to win the 107th Grey Cup. Winnipeg has been the reigning CFL champion ever since. Saskatchewan’s prairie rival visits Mosaic Stadium for the Labour Day classic on Sunday, September 5, part of a Riders schedule which features the team’s first four games at home, one in each of the first three weeks of August.
“We see what’s happening south of the border in enclosed stadiums at hockey arenas and such. We most certainly have made every effort to provide vaccines to Saskatchewan people so that they can make the choice on receiving vaccines to keep themselves safe,” Moe said.
“This is one of the wins. We get to go back to doing things in our community that at one point in time, quite frankly, we took for granted. I don’t think we’ll take them for granted for a long period of time now.”
The rules of safe play for the CFL players was step one of the process, step two was assessing the possibility of any fan attendance, and the final step focused on the amount of people who could attend Riders games if they choose to do so. The vaccination rates and declining COVID-19 case counts allowed the province to swing the gates wide open. Moe wants people returning to coming together in large groups.
“As we go to our first CFL game, I hope to be there in the stands with how ever many else choose to be and I think it will be many. It will be somewhat different, I’m certain there will be some people that will be wearing masks, although it won’t be required,” Moe said.
“I will have a mask with me and if there’s a point in time where I might feel uncomfortable in a close crowd, you may see me put my mask on, you may not, I won’t speak for what that looks like almost two months out. This last year and a half has changed a lot of things in our nation and around the world, and Rider games is just a part of that.”
Saskatchewan’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Saqib Shahab believes it’s going to be “extremely safe” for vaccinated people and recommends unvaccinated fans wear a mask if they choose to attend. Once public health orders end, it will be up to each individual to assess the risk of attending large gatherings outdoors.
The Riders led the CFL in average home attendance during the 2019 season with 30,723 per game.