Ontario reducing capacity for sporting events

The government of Doug Ford has indicated that indoor spaces that can accommodate more than 1,000 people will be limited to 50% of their capacity from Saturday.

This new measure applies to amphitheatres, but not only.

Interior spaces affected by the new measures:

  • facilities used for sports and recreational activities;
  • entertainment facilities such as concert halls, theaters and cinemas;
  • race halls;
  • meeting and event spaces;
  • production studios;
  • museums, art galleries, aquariums, zoos, science centers, botanical gardens and similar attractions;
  • casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments;
  • fairs, rural exhibitions and festivals.

The announcement is not a return to square one for Ontario’s professional sports teams.

The latter played their matches behind closed doors last year. They performed in front of 10,000 people during the preparatory calendar before obtaining authorization to play in front of a full house at the start of the season.

Several National Hockey League teams have recently been affected by major outbreaks. The next home game of the Maple Leafs, scheduled for Thursday, has also been postponed because their opponents, the Calgary Flames, have 16 cases of COVID-19 within their formation.

In a statement, MLSE Group, which owns the Maple Leafs and Raptors among others, said it supports the province’s decision. He will offer answers to ticket holders for his teams’ upcoming matches in the next 24 hoursthe time that its workforce at the ticket office is organized.

Measures that were requested

This announcement also comes at a time when many doctors were asking the provincial government to act to limit the spread of the virus with the resurgence of cases and the presence of the Omicron variant.

That’s where we close everythingsaid the infectious disease specialist at the Markham-Stouffville Hospital Valérie Sales, in reference to possible limits to the reception capacity.

A portrait of Dr. Valérie Sales.

Dr. Valérie Sales, infectious disease specialist at Markham-Stouffville Hospital.

Photo: Courtesy of Dr. Valérie Sales

There is a much higher risk with this variant. It is much more contagious than Delta, which was more contagious than the previous one. So we are at a new stage of the pandemic and I think it would be prudent to reduce the capacity of the stadiums because we do not know how it will evolve, but we know that it will evolve very quickly, underlined Dr. Michael Schull earlier in the day. He is the CEO of the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences and an emergency physician at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center in Toronto.

The latter did not believe it was possible in the short term that rapid tests could be used to allow the holding of sporting events or concerts with a full house. There are too many people. Control would be too hard to dohe said.

Dr. Alain Simard, who is an associate professor of immunology at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, wrote in an email to Radio-Canada that he would not never sporting events, especially professional ones, in priority beyond the health of our population and our essential services such as schools. Any indoor gathering, especially those involving thousands of people, should face restrictions before anything else.

In Quebec, a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Health and Social Services indicated on Tuesday that for now, the rules remain the same. There is therefore no limit to the number of spectators or sections to respect for shows, sporting events and cinemas with the vaccination passport which is already required at the entrance.

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