Stouffville dance studio says businesses are struggling due to new vaccine rule for those 12 and up

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A dance studio in Staffville says businesses are struggling because of a recent rule change that requires anyone 12 and older to participate in indoor games in the York area to be tested for COVID-19. Requires full vaccination against

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Businesses and the general public were given two days’ notice to implement the change, however, the province does not require people to be vaccinated to play indoor sports.

Other local public health units are also implementing similar rules.

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York Region’s Associate Medical Officer of Health Dr. Richard Gould says the move was necessary.

“We have seen some cases in things like sporting events and dance workshops, etc., where there was spread among participants,” says Dr. Gold.

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Tom Carter, co-owner of the Staffville Academy of Music and Dance, says he is disappointed for a number of reasons.

“Many high-schools in the York area have arts programs that feature dance and allow dancers to attend classes at school that, while not vaccinated, still cannot come to their local dance studio. There is a disconnect,” he says.

Carter says he wants businesses to be given a grace period. Toronto announced the same measure yesterday, yet businesses are not required to apply the rule until November 1.

Dr. Gould says the York area is not currently using strong enforcement measures, but is taking a more educational approach.

Carter says this is still worrying, noting that there is no timeline for when this educational approach will end. He doesn’t want to take any risk with the risk of getting a hefty fine.

He says this time period should be used to educate people about the benefits of vaccination, not just to exclude them from the programs they are currently enrolled in.

“They need these activities now more than ever. It is emotionally devastating to tell a teenage dancer that they are no longer welcome in the studio,” Carter says.

Dance studios are required to check people’s proof of vaccination every time they exit and enter the building. With colder weather approaching, they are concerned about long lineups outside and the added strain on staff to deal with this protocol.

Dr. Gold says he hopes this new rule will encourage people who haven’t been vaccinated to get vaccinated immediately. He says that about 84 percent of people in this age group have received their first dose and more than 74 percent have received two doses.

He adds that people who choose not to get the vaccine can find other ways to be active.

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