Football fans line up for rapid COVID-19 tests outside Commonwealth Stadium
Saturday’s Edmonton Elks game is the city’s first major event offering rapid COVID-19 testing at the door.
The team previously announced that starting in October fans would have to provide proof of double vaccination or a negative test result.
Those plans changed once the province’s restrictions exemption program was announced Wednesday evening. To be in line with the program, the Elks are asking everyone 12 years of age or older for proof of one dose of COVID-19 vaccine or a negative test result from within 48 hours of kickoff.
Tests are offered outside Commonwealth Stadium for $50.
“This is an opportunity for everyone to attend the game in a safe environment,” said Chris Presson, Elks CEO and president.
“People understand where we are as a country, as a province, and as a city,” Presson added. “Any time you open the paper and see 2,000 new cases is cause for concern. We want a safe environment and (Commonwealth Stadium) is a part of that.”
Individual tests take around five to six minutes for results. Many fans who came out early Saturday to receive theirs say the short wait and $50 price tag will be well worth it come game time.
“It’s a small price to pay to do the right thing and keep people safe,” one fan said.
“I don’t find it to be a problem,” another fan said. “I’ve seen people at my work pay $140 for the test, so I don’t have a problem with it.”
Presson said the testing site saw busy periods throughout Saturday afternoon.
No decision has been made on whether to continue the onsite rapid testing throughout the season. The Elks say that will depend on demand.