A Richmond soccer academy says it’s implementing a mandatory vaccination policy for all new hires.
Current staff were also asked to voluntarily disclose their vaccination status, said Brendan Quarry, co-owner and operations director of Total Soccer and TSS Football Club.
The policy was implemented to help both players and employees feel safer.
“What we’re trying to do is give assurance to our customers, many of whom I’m sure experienced a high degree of worry over the last year, sending their kids to school… We wanted to make sure that when they’re sending their kids to extracurricular activities that we’re not adding to that burden,” Quarry said.
“And to be honest, it’s also about helping our employees feel safer and more secure as well, since they’re going to be working with many kids who are unvaccinated.”
About half of Total Soccer’s players are under the age of 12, said Quarry – meaning they aren’t eligible for a shot. Typically, Total Soccer will see about 300 to 350 players in each of its three programs, which run in the fall, winter and spring, respectively.
He said that Total Soccer has worked to mitigate risk as much as possible during the pandemic, including monitoring ventilation at its indoor facility and discussing what to do around vaccinations once those were available.
The organization consulted with lawyers and found it could make it mandatory for any new hires to be vaccinated, Quarry explained.
“We were given the legal advice that if you’re hiring someone for the first time, you have every right to have certain conditions around that employment. So if someone is not comfortable being vaccinated, then they simply can choose not to apply to work at our organization.”
Total Soccer also asked all existing staff to voluntarily comply with the policy, which will also extend to volunteers.
While current staff didn’t have any issue with the policy and all of them will be fully vaccinated by September, Quarry said that if someone hadn’t wanted to get the jab Total Soccer would have looked at, for example, making them get tested more often.
The policy also extends to TSS Football Club.
The issue of mandatory vaccination policies is something Quarry believes many are grappling with, and is something more businesses may end up implementing.
“It’s also about trying to push things in the right direction. As a society, the more of us that are vaccinated, the more we are hopefully and eventually going to get back to normal.”
In the U.S., Google and Facebook have said they will require workers to be vaccinated before they return to the office.
Meanwhile, Quebec announced Thursday that the province will be implementing a vaccine passport system to curb the spread of COVID-19.