The Official Opposition is calling on the provincial government to discuss COVID-19 vaccination requirements for large-attendance events such as Saskatchewan Roughrider games.
NDP MLAs Aleana Young and Meara Conway held a media availability on Wednesday in front of Mosaic Stadium in Regina following comments made by the premier, saying the government is not looking at bringing in any sort of vaccine passport.
“We’re here today to tell the premier to get in line and keep Rider games safe for families this season,” Young said.
“We’re both moms. Both want to be able to go to big events in this province and know that if we’re taking our families and our little people under the age of 12 who can’t be vaccinated, that the province and the premier is doing everything that they can to keep the smallest people and most vulnerable people in the province safe.
“And ensure that we’re crushing brews in Pil Country, it’s not next to an anti-vaxxer screaming moistly for the home team.”
During a COVID-19 briefing on Tuesday, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe reiterated that Step 3 of the government’s “Re-Opening Roadmap” will occur on July 11 and then all public health orders will be removed in the province.
“For large, large public events … when we get past July 11, we’re going to be into an area where the emergency order will not be in place. And we, most certainly don’t have the ability then to demand that people would show a proof of vaccination for whether or not they would attend any large event here in the province,” Moe said.
“There’s also been some questions about whether certain venues and events can ask for proof of vaccination before allowing people to attend those events. And that will not be a provincial requirement in Saskatchewan.
“Of course, our government is strongly encouraging every eligible person to take the time to go out and get vaccinated, but it would be a potential violation of health information privacy if we were to do this, if we were to ask anyone for the proof of vaccination in order to attend an event.”
Saskatchewan not looking at provincial COVID-19 vaccine passports
In response to Moe’s reasoning, Conway said there’s a balance that could be struck between public health and personal privacy.
“We believe that requiring those folks that can be vaccinated to be vaccinated at these huge stadium events strikes the right balance. They’ve figured it out in Manitoba with similar privacy legislation. We can figure it out here,” Conway said.
“There’s a variety of options. I think that there is a capable civil service that could be looking into that. No doubt it’s something that jurisdictions around the world are considering … so citing personal privacy as the end to this discussion is disingenuous.
“I think that Mr. Moe is pandering to a small but very vocal element of his political base and it’s a shame.”
Conway added that opening up venues to thousands of people could potentially become super-spreader events and put unnecessary strain on a tired health-care system.
“I mean, we’re going to shortly see potentially tens of thousands of people in the stadium behind me. And these huge stadium events, whether they’re Rider games or music concerts, they have the potential to be super spreader events. (Vaccine passports are) a very reasonable step that we can take,” she said.
“This is also about the integrity of the health-care system because these super-spreader events risk putting additional strain when, again, everyone is hoping, particularly our hard-working frontline health-care workers, that the worst of this is behind us. So the worst thing we could do is take a step back in that regard.”
A total of 1,153,720 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Saskatchewan, provincial government officials said.
Of the 568 COVID-19-related deaths reported in the province to date, three are in the 19-and-under age group.
After confirming earlier this month that the 2021 season will go ahead, the CFL released its 14-game schedule to return from a hiatus forced by the pandemic in 2020. The Roughriders will have their first regular-season game at home against the B.C. Lions on Aug. 6.
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