Masks and sanitizing may be the new normal on campus, but the regulations could cause challenges for athletes. (Aaron Sousa/AQ)

Mask enforcement and sanitizing stations might be the new normal on university campuses, but for athletes, the regulations can be challenging.

“We just went to Nova Scotia last weekend and we were worried because [New Brunswick] went into a state of emergency the day before we left,” said Tommies women’s soccer player Rhys Dixon. “It was nerve-wracking.”

On Sept. 15, Premier Blaine Higgs announced another state of emergency for New Brunswick due to the recent surge of cases.

Students must wear masks in classes and in buildings at STU, but Dixon feels the mask mandate for athletes is “peculiar.”

“On the actual field we don’t have to wear masks or anything, but in our locker room, change rooms and on the bus we have to wear masks so it’s kind of weird,” she said. “It just seems funny because we’re all on the field together, but whatever works.”

Eric Moffatt, the marketing and events coordinator, said the athletics department mandated spectators to wear masks at indoor events on Sept. 22. 

Recently, the Government of New Brunswick implemented a system requiring proof of vaccination when entering a gym, indoor group recreational sports, classes and activities.

According to STU’s regulations, athletes were required to be fully vaccinated before returning to campus to play sports.

“I believe [those who got vaccinated during the season] would have to wait [two weeks] and our season’s very short – only like two months,” said Dixon. “The coaches all encouraged us to [get vaccinated], and if we hadn’t, to get it right away.”

Tommies women’s soccer player, Emma Wilson, said last year’s regulations changed the way the hockey team operated.

“We actually split half and half [in the dressing rooms,] so we weren’t able to all hang out before practices,” said Wilson.“You would get closer to the people on your half of the dressing room and there was no team bonding last year.”

This year though, Wilson said that the team can be together again while doing team activities on and off the ice. Although wearing masks, she said it’s really nice to be able to see everyone again.

“I’m expecting a good season. We have a lot of new players, plus the players from last year,” said Wilson. “Overall, I think we’re looking pretty good, we’re just figuring out how to work with [updated health regulations].”