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Public Health takes further steps to keep schools safe and open by issuing instructions to indoor sports and recreational facilities – Niagara Region

As COVID-19 infections increase across Ontario, with school-age
children now having the highest risk of COVID-19,
Niagara Region Public Health has issued a letter of instructions
to reduce the spread of COVID-19 infections in sporting and recreational
fitness facilities. Niagara joins 26 other local public health jurisdictions in
Ontario to have issued a letter of instructions to these facilities.

A letter of instruction is issued under Section 2, Schedule
1 of Ontario Regulation 364/20 under
the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible
Response to COVID-19) Act. This
letter of instruction creates legally binding requirements for anyone
responsible for a business or organization that operates indoor areas of
facilities within Niagara that are used for sports, athletic and recreational
fitness activities.

The instructions require the following:

  1. Controlling the
    capacity in the highest risk areas of these facilities (e.g. change rooms) to facilitate
    physical distance and reduce the spread of infection.
  2. Closing exceptions and
    loopholes in the current proof of vaccination requirement to use indoor sports
    and recreational fitness facilities. Operators are now instructed that all persons
    age 12 and older must have shown proof of vaccination to enter these facilities,
    unless a person has a valid medical exemption.
  3. Requiring a vaccination
    policy for employees of these facilities. Given vaccine-eligible patrons must
    be vaccinated to protect each other and the staff of the facilities, staff
    should provide the same protection back to patrons. 

“Over the past six weeks, children have had the highest
risk of being infected from COVID-19, and participation in sports and athletics
has unfortunately become a significant contributor to those infections,” said
Dr. Mustafa Hirji, Acting Medical Officer of Health. “When these infections get
into schools, classes are closed, children must isolate and fall behind in
learning, and parents must stay home to care for them. The narrow, targeted
measures we are requiring will keep children safe and in school as we head into
the holiday season when infections are likely to surge, and we potentially face
the Omicron variant.”

In the first six weeks of school, Niagara did not see any
outbreaks among children in recreational sports. More recently though, Niagara
has experienced six outbreaks linked to sports and athletics, aligning with the
lifting of capacity limits for these settings. A majority of infections
occurred in students, who then brought infection into at least 10 schools, in
some case starting outbreaks. Hundreds of students were put at risk, and most
had to isolate and miss school. A partial and targeted re-introduction of
capacity limits to the areas of these facilities with the highest risk of
spread, such as change rooms, will reduce most of the risk of infection, while still
allowing all sporting and athletic activities to continue.

While capacity limits in these settings were lifted in
recognition of the proof of vaccination requirements under provincial
regulations, some spectators, coaches, and others have claimed that the proof
of vaccination requirement did not apply to them, and so not everyone a child
may encounter is vaccinated. As well while most children age 12 and older must
already show proof of vaccination to enter these facilities, either because of the
provincial regulation or because of the policies of sports organizations, it
was not universal. With these instructions, there is now a consistent proof of
vaccination rule for all persons age 12 and over.

“I am supportive
of the Niagara Region taking action to reduce COVID-19 …….

Source: https://niagararegion.ca/news/article.aspx?news=1308

​As COVID-19 infections increase across Ontario, with school-age
children now having the highest risk of COVID-19, Niagara Region Public Health has issued a letter of instructions
to reduce the spread of COVID-19 infections in sporting and recreational
fitness facilities. Niagara joins 26 other local public health jurisdictions in
Ontario to have issued a letter of instructions to these facilities.

A letter of instruction is issued under Section 2, Schedule
1 of Ontario Regulation 364/20 under
the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible
Response to COVID-19) Act. This
letter of instruction creates legally binding requirements for anyone
responsible for a business or organization that oper…….

​As COVID-19 infections increase across Ontario, with school-age
children now having the highest risk of COVID-19, Niagara Region Public Health has issued a letter of instructions
to reduce the spread of COVID-19 infections in sporting and recreational
fitness facilities. Niagara joins 26 other local public health jurisdictions in
Ontario to have issued a letter of instructions to these facilities.

A letter of instruction is issued under Section 2, Schedule
1 of Ontario Regulation 364/20 under
the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible
Response to COVID-19) Act. This
letter of instruction creates legally binding requirements for anyone
responsible for a business or organization that oper…….

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