REGINA -- The Saskatchewan Roughriders will require proof that attendees at home games are fully vaccinated.

Fans will need to provide proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result to attend home games, the club said in a news release Monday. The Riders are targeting Sept. 17 for proof of vaccination requirements to come into effect.

The Riders are scheduled to host three home games after Sept. 17. The team said the upcoming Labour Day Classic is too soon to implement the new mandate, as many details still need to be sorted out.

“In consultations with local medical health officers this past week, they voiced their support to begin requiring proof of vaccination at Roughrider games,” Craig Reynolds, presidents and CEO of the Riders said. “After speaking with our stakeholders, including the City of Regina - our stadium owner, REAL - our stadium operator, and the CFL, we decided that this is the right decision for our Club and for our fans.”

The Riders said the Delta variant has caused concern for the club and its advising public health experts.

“When we asked formally for their decision last week, they indicated that they strongly recommended that we move forward with this policy,” Reynolds said in a press conference on Monday.

Fans who are unable to receive the vaccine for medical or religious reasons may attend with a negative COVID-19 test taken within 48-hours of game time.

“We continue to strongly encourage all of our fans to get fully vaccinated for the safety of themselves and others and to wear masks to our games as an extra layer of protection,” Reynolds said.

Reynolds added any season ticket holders who no longer want their tickets can get a refund on remaining tickets or can shift them over to next season.

The Regina Exhibition Association (REAL) said it supports the teams decision.

"We have begun the process of planning and implementing a proof of vaccination or negative COVID test system to support the Riders and all of our tenants should they require it," Tim Reid, CEO of REAL said in a news release. "We recognize that a system that supports the diverse and unique needs of our many tenants will be essential to the sustainability of our business."

During a news conference, Reid estimated the new infrastructure that will be installed will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. He said those costs will fall on the City of Regina for transit changes, REAL for staffing services and the Roughriders because they cover the bulk of game day costs.

“The reality of that is it generally gets passed along to the ticket holder,” Reid said. “So as the end, this cost will finds its way into a season ticket or a game day pass.”

REAL has been in talks with other stadiums across the country to pinpoint the best methods to implement the new policy. He said in most cases, the ticket line is separate from the proof of vaccination or negative test line, which is likely what fans can expect in Regina.

He added it won’t be a quick or simple change to game day operations, and asks fans to be patient.

“It’s a time when we don’t have an abundance of extra staff, so I do worry about service lines, I do worry about our ability to deliver the same degree of experience to our fans and guests,” Reid said. “I don’t think this will be easy implementation. It will be costly from a hardware and software standpoint, but I think it also will require a number of more people implemented just from a staffing standpoint.”

The Riders said it is still working on the logistics of accepting proof of vaccination with the Saskatchewan Health Authority.