Ontario increases capacity for sporting events, ahead baseball playoffs, NHL season


TORONTO — Ontario is opening the door wider for fans at sporting events, just in time for the NHL season and baseball’s stretch drive.

Attendance for Maple Leaf and Raptors games at Scotiabank Arena will be capped at 50 percent capacity to starting Saturday.

The Blue Jays are able to increase Rogers Centre capacity to 30,000 for the final regular-season homestand, starting Sept. 28, in their push to make the playoffs. The 500 level will be re-opened.

Capacity had been capped at 15,000 for outdoor sporting events, the same as at BMO Field for Toronto FC games.

Noting almost 80 per cent of eligible Ontarians are fully vaccinated, Ontario chief medical officer Dr. Kieran Moore says “we are able to recommend cautiously easing capacity limits in certain settings.”

For indoor sporting settings, that means 50 percent capacity or 10,000 people, whichever is less. Capacity will increase to up to 75 percent capacity or 30,000 people, whichever is less, for outdoor seated events.

“Increasing capacity limits does not mean we can let our guard down,” said Moore. “We must remain cautious and humble in the face of this Delta variant. Although several of our key indicators are stable and our vaccination rates are among the highest in the world, we must all remain vigilant and continue following the Public Health measures and advice,”

Friday’s announcement comes on the eve of the Leafs pre-season opener against the visiting Montreal Canadiens.

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Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press