Proof of COVID-19 vaccination will be required for anyone 18+ entering Waterloo Region recreation facilities

Students from John McCrea Secondary School play hockey at the Walter Baker Sports Centre in Ottawa on Thursday, January 19, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Anyone 18 and older entering an indoor sporting facility in Waterloo Region will soon need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

It includes coaches, instructors, trainers, officials, referees, organizers and any other individuals, like volunteers.

"Activities related to organized sports have the potential to increase COVID-19 transmission. Close contact, heavy breathing, long exposure times, crowded indoor spaces, and masks removed during physical activity all contribute to increased risk of COVID-19 transmission. Requiring more groups to be protected with COVID-19 vaccinations will help reduce the risk of transmission in indoor sporting facilities while maintaining opportunities for sport," a news release from the region said in part.

The vaccination policy will come into effect on Oct. 31.

“Delta continues to circulate in our community and it is highly transmissible,” said Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang, the region's medical officer of health, in the release. “Given that individuals such as coaches, officials and volunteers will have close and prolonged contact with youth who may be unvaccinated, extending the requirement for proof of vaccination to these individuals in indoor sports settings helps protect all those participating and reduces the risk for transmission in these settings.”