Saskatoon YMCA to require proof of vaccination to pick up children, enter building starting Oct. 1

·2 min read
YMCA Saskatoon will be requiring proof of vaccination starting Oct. 1. (Victoria Dinh/CBC - image credit)
YMCA Saskatoon will be requiring proof of vaccination starting Oct. 1. (Victoria Dinh/CBC - image credit)

The YMCA in Saskatoon says it's going further than provincial guidelines to keep people safe from COVID-19.

Starting Oct. 1, the YMCA will be requiring proof of vaccination for any parent picking up their child from child care, as well as anyone entering the building for any fitness or other programming.

Workers will not accept a negative COVID test as an alternative, despite provincial regulations allowing the practice.

"We don't know how long those tests are good for or how you prove that you've gotten that test," said CEO Dean Dodge.

"Our staff are not trained health-care providers."

In a letter to centre users, the YMCA said it had decided to go beyond the government mandated requirements to create "an exceptionally safe space for everyone who works or visits our various facilities and programs."

Dodge said reaction to the letter so far has been mixed, but generally positive.

"I had a parent who thanked me and her grandparents thanked me because they like the extra precautions we're taking, in child care in particular," he said.

"We've had instructors and volunteers thank us for finally putting the vaccination rules in place."

Last week, Premier Scott Moe announced that starting in October, proof of vaccination or a negative test would be required for a large number of public venues, including restaurants, nightclubs and indoor fitness centres and gyms.

During the announcement, the premier said the province's goal is to lift the restrictions by late October.

Dodge said the centre may revisit the rule and may eventually allow negative COVID tests at a later date.

He said the YMCA still finds itself having to educate its members on the vaccine rules.

"When you're vaccinated, you're not actually effectively vaccinated for two weeks after," he said.

"[You] can't get vaccinated that morning and think that you're good."

Masks will also be mandated inside all YMCA facilities with the exception of the swimming pool and showers.

The programs included in the vaccine rules include health, fitness and aquatic, childcare centres, Saskatoon early years family resource centre, and before and after school programs.

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