Curling Canada to require mandatory vaccinations in order to compete in and attend events

With the 2021-22 curling season now underway, Curling Canada announced on Monday that all athletes coaches, fans, volunteers, media, event staff and contractors above the age of 12 will have to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to participate in, and attend any of their affiliated events.

“Above all else, we believe this is necessary to provide the safest possible environment for everyone who participates in our events, and that point can’t be emphasized more strongly,” Katherine Henderson, Chief Executive Officer of Curling Canada said in a prepared statement.

“There’s absolutely no question that vaccinations work and significantly reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection. We want our athletes, our fans, our volunteers and our employees to feel as safe as possible at our events, and we believe this is a necessary step toward that goal.”

Anyone that is attending Curling Canada events must provide a proof of first vaccination by no later than Sept. 8 and proof of full vaccination by no later than Oct. 12.

Those dates would affect curlers taking part in a pair of Olympic Trials qualifying events, which will be held in Ottawa on Sept. 22-26 and Liverpool, N.S. on Oct. 26-31.

“Curling Canada’s Board of Governors unequivocally supports the position that the organization is taking,” Curling Canada Board Chair Amy Nixon said in a prepared statement.

“We ask that our staff provide environments for athletes to compete and fans to enjoy that are safe for everyone. We firmly believe that the health and safety guidance that they have asked for and received is being listened to and acted upon in the best interests of all.”

In addition to the two pre-trials events, Curling Canada has already announced their full schedule for the 2021-22 season, which is as follows:

  • Canadian Mixed Curling Championship: Nov. 7-14 in Canmore, Alta.
    Tim Hortons Olympic Curling Trials: Nov. 20-28 in Saskatoon
    Everest Canadian Club Championship: Nov. 28-Dec. 4 in Ottawa
    Everest Canadian Senior Curling Championship: Dec. 6-11 in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.
    Canada Inns Mixed Doubles Olympic Curling Trials: Dec. 28-Jan. 2 in Portage la Prairie, Man.
    Continental Cup: Jan. 20-23 in Fredericton, N.B.
    Scotties Tournament of Hearts: Jan. 28-Feb. 6 in Thunder Bay, Ont.
    Canadian Under-18 Curling Championship: Feb. 14-20 in Timmins, Ont.
    Canadian Wheelchair Curling Championship: Feb. 21-26 in Moose Jaw
    Tim Hortons Brier: March 4-13 in Lethbridge, Alta.
    U Sports and CCAA Championships: March 15-19 in Sudbury, Ont.
    World Women’s Curling Championship: March 19-27 in Prince George, B.C.
    New Holland Under-21 Curling Championship: March 25-April 1 in Stratford, Ont.
    Canadian Mixed Doubles Championship: March 22-27 in Sudbury, Ont.

In their press release on Monday, Curling Canada said that any ticket-buyers who are declining to be vaccinated will have the opportunity to get refunds at a later date.

The World Curling Federation and the Grand Slam of Curling have yet to make any announcements in regards to vaccination policies for the upcoming season.

Meanwhile, CURLSASK said in a press release on Monday that they strongly encourage all participants get fully vaccinated for the safety of themselves and others.

“CURLSASK supports Curling Canada’s decision to prioritize the safety of all event participants and host communities,” they added.

“As we continue to navigate this evolving situation, CURLSASK will reassess our return to play plan, consult our legal counsel and review our health and safety protocols.”

The Prince Albert Golf and Curling Centre is slated to host the Mont St. Joseph Foundation Provincial Mixed Curling Championship from Oct. 13-17.