Riders fan starts Twitter petition for fully-vaccinated crowd at Mosaic Stadium

Photo courtesy: Steve Johnson (@sportsgeek22)

A member of Rider Nation has petitioned the Saskatchewan Roughriders to change their policy on who is allowed to attend games at Mosaic Stadium amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Self-identified Saskatchewan Roughriders fan and stats fanatic Steve Johnson hung a sign reading MAKE MOSAIC FULLY VACCINATED on a stadium gate on Saturday.

He posted the image on his Twitter account asking people to retweet it if they agreed with his position. The tweet garnered 210 retweets and 384 likes in the first 22 hours it was up and has been seen by over 25,000 people.

“I love the Riders to death, but I think they need to do the right thing and ensure the health and safety of their fans,” Johnson told 3DownNation via telephone. “We need to do everything we can to avoid outbreaks. If the Riders want to give back to their fans, this is one of the best ways to do that.”

The Saskatchewan Roughriders are one of just two CFL teams that allow fans to attend games regardless of whether or not they’ve been vaccinated or tested for COVID-19.

Johnson says the response to his tweet has been mixed, which he anticipated before posting it online.

“Most of the replies have been people who disagree, which is fine. Lots of the likes and retweets have been from people who seem to be in favour of it. I’ll take the retweets over the replies,” said Johnson.

“I’m pro-vaccine and I think that with seven of nine CFL teams going to fully-vaccinated stadiums, it makes the most sense to do the same here. It ensures a healthy season to be played out because the vaccine is the only reason we’re seeing games at all this season.”

Johnson is hopeful that his petition can help grow the momentum required to bring about change in his home province.

“Maybe a small voice can lead to a bigger voice, which can help bring it into effect,” he said.

The Riders are reportedly heading in the direction of implementing a vaccine requirement, with Saskatchewan health minister Paul Merriman and Regina mayor Sandra Masters speaking in support of the policy.

Saskatchewan had a seven-day average of 57 new COVID-19 cases when the Riders held their home-opener on Friday, Aug. 6. The seven-day average ballooned to 247 as of Sunday, Aug. 29, an increase of 333.3 percent in a little over three weeks.

The province confirmed that nine new cases stemmed from the Riders’ home opener, while also warning of potential exposure in Pil Country and a shuttle bus.

The Riders have opened the 2021 CFL season with a perfect 3-0 record with wins over B.C., Hamilton, and Ottawa. The team is currently on a bye week before hosting the Labour Day Classic against Winnipeg on Sunday, Sept. 5, which sold out earlier this month.

The team’s last three home games are slated for Sept. 17, Oct. 9, and Nov. 5 with four of their final five games being played on the road.

John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.