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Local youth will need proof of COVID vaccine for sports facilities starting Dec. 8

By Feb. 16, 2022, children aged 12 to 17 must show they've been double vaccinated before they can use recreation or fitness facilities
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The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit will require any indoor sports, recreation, or fitness facility to ask youth for proof of COVID-19 vaccination beginning Dec. 8. 

By Feb. 16, 2022, those same venues will require anyone aged 12 and over to show proof they've received two doses of a COVID vaccine in order to enter the facility as participants or spectators. 

Until now, youth have been exempt from the proof of vaccination policies at recreation facilities, provided they were entering as participants. 

Starting Jan. 1, 2022, children will have a 12-week grace period from their 12th birthday to receive COVID vaccinations. They must still provide identification to enter a building, but do not have to provide proof of two doses. 

As of Dec. 8, youth between 12 and 17 must show proof of at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, and by Feb. 16 they will have to show proof of two doses as well as identification, or they must show proof of a medical exemption. 

The medical officer of health for the region, Dr. Charles Gardner, announced the rule changes in his briefing last week, and the health unit put out the formal announcement today (Nov. 23) via news release. 

Gardner also updated his instructions to businesses and organizations, and also included indoor playground facilities, any organization providing indoor programming to children under 12, and locations where religious services, rites, or ceremonies take place. 

The above organizations must continue to actively screen members of the public and obtain contact information for contact tracing. They must ensure physical distancing, unless they are requiring proof of vaccination for entry. 

Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19, or who has been identified as a close contact of another case, or who fails their active screening questions must not be allowed entry into those businesses or organizations. 

During this time, these individuals will be required to provide identification at the point of entry, but do not need to provide proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19. 

You can read the full press release as well as the letters of instruction from the medical officer of health here.