Ontario limits venue capacity to 50% for Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators, Toronto Raptors amid COVID-19 surge


The Ontario government is reinstating capacity limits for large sports and entertainment venues in the province, which will impact the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators, and NBA’s Toronto Raptors.

As of 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, all venues in Ontario that hold 1,000 people or more will be limited to 50% capacity. The measure has been taken in response to the rising number of COVID-19 cases within the province.

The Leafs, who are currently on a Western Canada road trip, play out of Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena, which they share with the Raptors.

The Raptors are scheduled to host the Golden State Warriors on Saturday, followed by the Orlando Magic on Monday.

The Senators, currently on an East Coast road swing, play their home games at Canadian Tire Centre in Kanata, Ontario.

Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment said in a statement Wednesday that it will “work to prioritize public health” in the wake of these new restrictions. Some Leafs games have already had more than 50% of tickets sold, creating some issues for MLSE to work through.

“Our ticketing team is currently working through the logistics of implementing this change and will provide follow up details to all ticket holders within 24 hours,” MLSE said in a statement.

MLSE also announced it is launching an initiative called “Operation Mask Up (or out)” as part of the arena’s enhanced protocols. That program will require all attendees to strictly comply with enhanced masking measures or else risk being ejected from the building.

Patrons were already required to show proof of double vaccination, or a negative COVID-19 test, to enter the facility.

There were 1,808 new coronavirus cases reported in Ontario and 2,386 in Quebec on Monday. Ontario Premier Doug Ford noted the omicron variant is the most contagious coronavirus variant seen yet and is on the verge of becoming the most dominant strain in Ontario if it isn’t already.

Ontario is the first place to reinstate capacity restrictions in the NBA and NHL as the number of coronavirus cases and game postponements climb.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source : ESPN