Ontario to allow full capacity at sports arenas, concert venues

Concert venues and sports arenas will soon be able to open to full capacity for those who are fully vaccinated. Richard Southern explains in Friday's business report.

By News staff

The Toronto Raptors and Maple Leafs will be starting their seasons with a full venue after the province has announced it will be lifting capacity limits for certain indoor and outdoor settings.

As of 12:01 a.m. Saturday, 100 per cent capacity will be allowed in the following places:

  • Concert venues, theatres and cinemas;
  • Spectator areas of facilities for sports and recreational fitness (would not include gyms, personal training);
  • Meeting and event spaces (indoor meeting and event spaces will still need to limit capacity to the number that can maintain physical distancing);
  • Horseracing tracks, car racing tracks, and other similar venues; and
  • Commercial film and television productions with studio audiences.

“We are overjoyed to see this day arrive when we are able to welcome a full venue to cheer on the Maple Leafs and Raptors,” said Michael Friisdahl, President & CEO of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE).

MLSE says they will start hosting a full crowd for the Maple Leafs home opener on October 13.

The move also allows for full crowds at Ottawa Senators games as well as Hamilton Tiger Cat football games and all 17 OHL arenas.

“We’re thrilled with today’s announcement,” said Senators owner and governor Eugene Melnyk. “On behalf of the organization, I want to thank the many government officials with whom we’ve liaised extensively, including Premier Doug Ford, to reach this point while assuring our fans that we’ll continue to remain cautious and take all preventative measures to guarantee individuals’ collective safety when at our building.”

The Ministry of Health said these setting also include weddings services and receptions held in event venues, but does not apply for services in churches.

Proof-of-vaccination is currently required in Ontario for all indoor activities and outdoor event venues.

Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore said early this week, a number of recent outbreaks have been associated with weddings but noted that next week proof of vaccination will be required to attend weddings and funerals in meeting and event spaces.

The province says since the proof-of-vaccination requirement came into effect, two key milestones have been reached with 86.8 per cent of individuals aged 12 and over vaccinated with at least a first dose and almost 82 per cent with two doses.

Capacity limits will remain in effect for all remaining sectors including restaurants, retail stores and personal care services.

With files from The Canadian Press

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