It seems like what’s old is new again when it comes to sports and recreation.

The Office of the Chief Public Health Officer (OCPHO) has laid out a new public health order which will allow indoor gatherings to be capped at 25 and outdoor gatherings at a maximum of 50 people. If that sounds familiar, it’s what the initial reopening numbers were when Covid-19 restrictions were first lifted in summer 2020.

The difference now is that there’s an option for groups and/or businesses to ask for proof of vaccination before allowing people to take part. What that means is the possibility for larger gatherings of up to 100 people indoors and 200 outdoors, if a group/business applies for, and receives, an exemption from the OCPHO.

The order itself is contingent on a risk evaluation being conducted by the OCPHO, which should be done on or before this Friday, according to a news release from the OCPHO on Oct. 14.

The Racquet Club is one of those businesses that will be looking to increase its numbers at the first available opportunity. It will be asking its membership for proof of vaccination before doing so. As it stands, the club has a firm limit of 10 people inside, which includes staff and anyone using the club’s services.

Meghan Newberry, the facility’s manager of member services, said the club is planning on applying for an exemption to allow up to 100 people inside the premises. If that doesn’t work, it will abide by the order as it stands.

“We have asked our members to submit their vaccination status by (Oct.) 25th,” she said. “If our application isn’t approved, we’ll go to 25 (people). It’s not ideal but the job is to keep the community safe. We have the best members in town and they’ve rolled with the punches, just like the staff has, and we’ll do our best to keep things running as normal as we can with the capacity we’re allowed.”

The Yellowknife Gymnastics Club is in wait-and-see mode for the time being, but the news that things could open up again was exciting to hear, said Jessica Smith, the club’s manager.

“We’re just waiting for the announcement about what the new vaccine mandate will be and get as much information as possible before deciding what to do,” she said.

That isn’t stopping the club from preparing for a reopening, she added.

“We’re here at the club setting up equipment, marking off the six-foot distances, making sure we have enough supplies on hand,” she said. “We want to make sure we have everything ready for our members.”

As for the Yk Volleyball Association, it’s in a holding pattern for the time being.

Terrel Hobbs, the association’s president, said gymnasium time hasn’t been released as of yet so there’s no way of drafting a schedule, but the hope among the executive is for a Nov. 1 start date.

“It’s week-by-week situation right now for us,” he said. “We’ll wait and see what happens with the new order and see what the requirements will be.”

The association held its annual general meeting on Oct. 6 and Hobbs said there was some discussion about whether full vaccination would be required in order to play this season.

“The talk leaned toward having players be fully vaxxed before getting out there,” he said. “Everyone’s itching to get back out there but we all agreed that having someone there to check (vaccination) would be good in case we do have another outbreak.”

James McCarthy

After being a nomad around North America following my semi-debauched post-secondary days, I put down my roots in Yellowknife in 2006. I’ve been keeping this sports seat warm with NNSL for the better...

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