Anyone planning to cheer on the Ottawa Redblacks from the stands at TD Place will soon need a full course of COVID-19 vaccinations or a negative test result before kickoff, the venue operator announced Monday.
The new rules, effective Sept. 12, will apply to all visitors to the site aged 12 and older, employees and event staff.
TD Place, operated by the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group, is the city’s downtown entertainment venue at Lansdowne Park and often hosts concerts and sporting events.
The field is home to the CFL’s Ottawa Redblacks and the CPL soccer club Atletico Ottawa, while the CEBL Ottawa Blackjacks basketball team and the OHL’s 67’s play in the arena below ground.
In accordance with the OHL policy, a full course of vaccinations is required for entry to an Ottawa 67’s game — a negative test result will not suffice.
In all other cases, coronavirus tests must be taken within 48 hours before the event to qualify for the vaccine exemption. Both PCR and rapid antigen tests are accepted but attendees will have to cover the costs of their own test.
Any combination of two Health Canada-approved vaccinations will be accepted, but individuals will have to be at least two weeks removed from their final shot before attending the event.
Those unable to get the vaccine for medical or other reasons will have to produce the negative test result for access.
Children under 12 years old who are unable to get vaccinated will be subject to a health screening questionnaire.
Masks will still be required for anyone attending a TD Place event, except when eating or drinking in their seat.
TD Place has not yet determined how it will verify compliance with the vaccine mandate.
“As you can appreciate, with a lack of a digital tool/electronic vaccine passport provided by government agencies, this is a difficult process. We are working hard and will do our very best to implement a process that is as user-friendly as possible. We’re still working out the details and more information will follow in early September,” the organization wrote on its website.
OSEG said it is implementing the policy to keep its staff and visitors safe amid the growing risk of more-transmissible COVID-19 variants and “lower than anticipated” vaccination rates.
The Toronto Blue Jays announced a similar policy on Monday requiring fans in the stands to be vaccinated or produce a negative test result before accessing Rogers Centre.
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats also said Monday fans will require proof of vaccinations or a negative test after Labour Day.