All athletes participating in the Vernon 2022 Winter Games in February will need to be fully inoculated.

The BC Games Society Board of Directors said the mandate was to protect the safety of athletes, coaches, officials, staff, volunteers, and spectators.

“As this multisport event will attract people from every region of the province, we must take appropriate actions and precautions to help minimize the health risks for all participants,” said Jamey Paterson, Chair of the BC Games Society Board of Directors.

“We look forward to providing a safe environment as we return to staging these provincial sport events.”

BC Games officials said there will be no exceptions and vaccines will be required for volunteers and guests as well.

Officials also said the BC Games Society is optimistic that youth under the age of 12 will be able to be fully vaccinated by the start of the games, so they can compete in that age category.

“We recognize this is a new measure for all participants of the BC Winter Games,” said Alison Noble, President and CEO of the BC Games Society.

“But as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we need to adjust our policies to make sure the Games are safe for everyone.”

BC Games officials also said vaccines won’t be the only guidelines, as mask-wearing, sanitizing and physical distancing measures will be in place.

Officials said they are monitoring all provincial and local Public Health Orders to determine if vaccines will be required for the 2022 BC Summer Games in Prince George.

The BC Winter Games will be held in Vernon from February 24th to 27th, 2022, 1,800 athletes, coaches, and officials from communities across B.C. are expected and as many as 2,000 volunteers will be needed.