Saskatchewan Health Minister hopes Riders ‘make a choice’ for fan vaccination requirement

Photo courtesy: Saskatchewan Roughriders/Derek Mortensen/Electric Umbrella

Saskatchewan Health Minister Paul Merriman wants the Roughriders to make Mosaic Stadium a vaccine-only facility for fans.

The Riders are one of just two CFL teams yet to mandate proof of COVID vaccination or a negative test for anyone attending their games in Regina.

“We’re in constant contact with the Riders. If the Riders want to make a choice, that’s up to them. I know some other CFL teams have been able to do that or made their choice. We hope that the Riders will make a choice in the near future,” Merriman said.

Policies have been announced in B.C., Calgary, Winnipeg, Hamilton, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal, leaving Edmonton and Saskatchewan as the only remaining CFL teams that permit unvaccinated fans to enter their stadiums.

“A lot of the CFL teams have been making that decision on their own. A lot of them have made that decision without dealing with government intervention. As far as I know in Ontario, they weren’t mandating it and there’s three CFL teams that have decided in Ontario to do this on their own,” Merriman said.

The province of Manitoba did not see a significant increase in COVID-19 cases two weeks after the Blue Bombers held their home-opener on August 5, which hosted a crowd of approximately 30,000 fully-vaccinated fans.

That was not the case in Saskatchewan where the seven-day count more than doubled two weeks after their home opener on August 6. The Saskatchewan Health Authority warned of possible exposure on a shuttle bus and in Pil Country with nine confirmed cases stemming from the home opener.

“Everybody should go and get vaccinated,” Merriman said. “That’s the end of the story really for me is people need to go and get vaccinated, not just because of attending a venue — they should do this for their own health and the health of their community.”