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Ontario Is Increasing Sports Venue Capacity Limits & More Fans Can Catch Games In-Person

The changes are coming into effect on Saturday at 12:01 a.m.

Toronto Associate Editor
Ontario Is Increasing Sports Venue Capacity Limits & More Fans Can Catch Games In-Person

Calling all sports fans: Ontario just gave the green light for more fans in the stands.

"With public health and health care indicators currently stable and proof of vaccination now in effect, we are able to recommend cautiously easing capacity limits in certain settings," Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario's chief medical officer of health, announced in a September 24 press conference. These settings include sports venues.

"As of Saturday, September 25, at 12:01, [the Toronto Blue Jays] will be able to have 30,000 people in the Blue Jays stadium," Moore said. "I'm a big fan. I want to see them succeed. And they've been great partners in having early adoption of the validation of immunization status and/or testing. They're moving to complete immunization certification, which I very much appreciate."

Ontario will increase outdoor sporting venues' capacity for seated events up to a max of 30,000, or 75% of each venue's pre-COVID capacity. It's been capped at 15,000 fans since July 16, 2021. But, for outdoor sports venues where fans have to stand, capacity caps at 15,000 people or 75% of the venue's pre-COVID capacity, whichever is less.

"We've considered [Rogers Centre] an outdoor stadium, even if the roof is closed," said Moore. "We've worked with them to understand their ventilation system and their air exchange, and it's actually a very high air exchange turnover. We're confident — even with the roof closed, given the amount of air and space — that we can continue to consider it an outdoor venue."

For indoor sports venues, Ontario is increasing the max capacity to 10,000 people, or 50% of the venue's pre-COVID capacity, whichever is the lower amount. Before the announcement, only 1,000 fans were allowed in for indoor sporting events.

This means 9,900 fans can watch the game live and in-person at Scotiabank Arena.

Proof of vaccination will still be required, as Ontario's vaccine program launched on September 22.

MLSE announced in mid-August fans will be required to provide proof of vaccination, and it would apply to anyone planning on going to watch a game at Scotiabank Arena and BMO Field. Toronto Blue Jays followed suit with an announcement on August 23.

The changes take place just in time for when the Blue Jays play the Yankees at the Rogers Centre next week.*

*This article has been updated.

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