The Edmonton Elks’ vaccination rate is nearly high enough for the team to avoid forfeiting a game against the Toronto Argonauts, providing the game can be rescheduled, according to the Elks. According to the squad, 83.5 percent of players and coaches have gotten at least one vaccine shot.
During a virtual news conference on Friday afternoon, Elks president and CEO Chris Presson said, “I’m really proud of our players, coaches, and football operations staff for where they’ve been for quite some time.” The Elks claimed in a news statement published earlier Friday that three players and/or coaches had been partially vaccinated, while 63 others have been fully vaccinated.
Presson said that practically all members of the Elks organization are COVID-19 vaccinated, even those who work in the front office.
On August 19, the Elks traveled to Vancouver to face the BC Lions. After returning home, Tier 1 people — players, coaches, and support staff — were tested for COVID-19. The CFL said this weekend that the Elks-Argos game, which was initially set for Aug. 26, will be rescheduled after “a number” of Elks players tested positive for COVID-19.
If a game is postponed and cannot be rescheduled, the team fighting COVID is required to forfeit the game, according to league rules.
However, if the organization can show that at least 85 percent of its contract players have gotten at least one dosage of vaccination, the players will be paid regardless of the cancellation.
If the team falls short of the 85% mark, the entire team will be laid off. Presson earlier stated that the game versus the Argonauts will be postponed. Meetings to reschedule the game are still taking place, and the team should have more information Friday evening. This, according to Presson, will allow for continued negotiations over the weekend.
Since returning from Vancouver, 14 Elks players have tested positive for COVID-19. On Thursday, no fresh instances were found, according to the team. The team is unable to identify those who have tested positive, but any players who remain in COVID-19 protocols when the team begins on-field activities will be noted in the team’s initial injury report, according to the news release.
The team’s isolation period has been extended from seven to ten days by Alberta health officials. According to Presson, the prolonged isolation period was implemented as a precaution after positive cases were discovered on Wednesday and Thursday.
Before in-person events may begin, there must be several days without positive test results, according to Presson. Assuming no further positive test results, all Tier 1 workers will be subjected to daily PCR tests and will remain at home until August 31.
On September 1, the Elks will return to the team’s facilities for in-person activities in preparation for the annual Labour Day Classic against the Calgary Stampeders, which will take place in Calgary on September 6. Meanwhile, keeping the team’s people well, both emotionally and physically, is a primary goal, according to Presson.