The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are hoping for a packed IG Field when they open the CFL season on August 5 against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, but fans who haven’t received both vaccine doses won’t be able to attend.
The province of Manitoba announced a loosening of pandemic restrictions to begin on Saturday, including the ability for fully-vaccinated individuals to attend large scale sporting events. While approval has not yet been granted as to how many fans will be in the stands, the Bombers are excited about the new development.
“Being fully immunized, I think, is actually going to benefit our fans and make people feel safe here that everyone around them has that full immunization,” club president Wade Miller said during an interview on CJOB 680 on Wednesday.
Fans will be allowed into the stadium once they are two weeks removed from their second dose, meaning that any person hoping to ring in the season on August 5 must receive their final immunization by July 20.
Children under 12, who are currently ineligible for the vaccine, will be allowed to attend if accompanied by a fully-vaccinated guardian, though the club has not yet received confirmation as to whether those unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons will be allowed in the venue.
Fans will be expected to show proof of vaccination via the new provincial app prior to having their tickets scanned for entry.
“People are going to get very good at flipping their phones from one app to the next,” Miller explained.
“We’re already starting the planning for that and probably will have staggered scans so you can do your app and switch it over to tickets five or six people later.”
That process will likely require the hiring of between 60 and 80 more ticket ushers than a typical gameday.
“These are the challenges we need to work through, and I look at it as an opportunity to have a full stadium,” Miller said.
The team remains in conversations with provincial health authorities as to whether that opportunity can become a reality, but until then Miller remains optimistic and hopes fans will put their arms where their mouths are to make it happen.
“Everyone understands that this is a little different and everyone is going to love to get back to IG Field,” he said.
“It’s definitely moving in the right direction and that’s because we’re all getting out and getting vaccinated so we need to keep that up.”