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MLSE won't accept negative COVID test result for events, attendees must be vaccinated

Last Updated Sep 2, 2021 at 5:46 pm EDT

Scotiabank Arena sits empty on April 14, 2020. CITYNEWS/Tony Fera

Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, owners of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors, Toronto FC and Toronto Argonauts, says people attending its indoor and outdoor events must be vaccinated as of September 22.

In a statement, MLSE says it strongly supports Ontario’s vaccine certificate system and will not accept a negative COVID-19 test result “for admittance to MLSE venues or events, except for guests with a verified medical exemption.”

They add that children under 11 years old will also be exempt from the mandate. Face coverings must continue to be worn at both indoor and outdoor events.

“As an organization, MLSE fully supports the mandatory vaccination policy being implemented by the province as we all work together to create a path forward that protects our communities and allows a return to full operations for all businesses,” said Michael Friisdahl, President and CEO of MLSE.

“Providing the safest environment within our venues and protecting our community from the transmission of COVID-19 are our highest priorities, and ensuring all attendees and staff at our events are fully vaccinated is the ultimate safeguard in that goal. We strongly believe that this mandatory vaccine policy, along with the other enhanced measures we are adding, should allow us to safely resume hosting both indoor and outdoor events at full capacity in time for the start of the Maple Leafs and Raptors seasons this Fall.”

The arena and stadiums include Scotiabank Arena, BMO Field and Ricoh Coliseum.

In August, MLSE announced they would require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result to enter any of their arenas, stadiums or restaurants by mid-September.

Toronto’s other major sports team, the Blue Jays, announced on August 23 that fans will need to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test in order to attend their home games and potential playoff games as of September 13.

That policy will apply to all fans, staff and guests aged 12 and up at the Rogers Centre.

Ontario’s vaccine certificate system, announced Wednesday, is intended to increase immunization rates in a bid to curb the fourth wave of the COVID-19.

Starting Sept. 22, residents will need to show proof of immunization to access public spaces such as gyms, movie theatres and indoor dining at restaurants.

The system won’t apply to essential services like health care and grocery stores, or to children under 12 and those with select medical exemptions to COVID-19 vaccines.

Locations requiring proof of vaccination are largely those that involve close contact, crowds, and where people don’t continuously wear masks.

Files from The Canadian Press were used in this report