The Western Hockey League has formally requested exemption from Interior Health’s indoor spectator limit of 50 per cent of a facility’s capacity.
WHL commissioner Ron Robison made the request to IHA interim chief medical health officer Dr. Sue Pollock on Monday, Oct. 25, in an email obtained by KTW.
“As you will appreciate, to continue having restrictions on capacity will have major implications on our Kamloops Blazers and Kelowna Rockets hockey teams who require full capacity in order to recover from the pandemic and sustain their operations,” Robison said in the email.
“Both teams, under normal circumstances, draw near capacity attendance for all of their home games and to continue limiting capacity will severely impact ticket sales and other team revenues.”
Robison notes the league has taken preventive measures, followed provincial guidelines, including adopting full-vaccination policies, and staged successful hub centres during the truncated 2020-2021 season.
“Given the preventative measures we have taken, combined with the public health guidelines currently in place in the province of B.C., we believe that WHL games in Kamloops and Kelowna represent no significant risk to the Interior public health system,” Robison said.
“With this in mind and given our proven track record with the WHL hub centres in Interior B.C., we would formally request that the Kamloops Blazers and Kelowna Rockets be granted an exemption from the indoor events capacity order and be permitted to operate at 100 per cent spectator capacity.”
Robison notes the request is urgent and provides a phone number at which he can be reached at any time. He acknowledges the challenges Interior Health is facing and offers the league's assistance in promoting vaccinations and spreading public health messages.
While capacity limits have been lifted for sporting events and other events in the Vancouver Island, Fraser and Vancouver Coastal health regions, they remain in effect in the Interior and Northern Health regions.
There has been some confusion as to whether the 50 per cent capacity limits in Interior Health were eliminated by last week’s decision to lift capacity limits. Interior Health stated it would have clarification by Oct. 23, but the health authority did not address the matter by that date and has yet to respond to myriad media requests for answers on the issue.
Premier John Horgan and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry may address the Interior indoor capacity order on Tuesday, Oct. 26, during a 1:30 p.m. press conference.