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Ontario Relaxes Capacity Limits At Certain Sporting And Event Venues

TORONTO – Ontario is relaxing capacity limits at some venues where proof of vaccination is required, paving the way for more people immune to COVID-19 to attend conventions, concerts and games of the Blue Jays.

The relaxed restrictions come as daily case rates in Ontario have remained stable in recent weeks, and the province’s chief medical officer of health has said he is confident it can be done safely.

“Raising capacity limits doesn’t mean we can let our guard down,” said Dr Kieran Moore. “We have to be careful and humble about this Delta variant.”

Starting Saturday, capacity limits at outdoor events where people stand will increase to 75% of capacity or 15,000 people, whichever is less. This is up from the previous cap of 5,000 people.

For outdoor events where people are seated, the limits will be increased up to 75% of capacity or 30,000 people.

This means the Blue Jays are able to increase the capacity of the Rogers Center in Toronto to 30,000 – from 15,000 spectators – to allow them to advance to the playoffs.

The province also said proof of vaccination will now be required in outdoor environments where normal capacity is 20,000 people or more.

Indoors, cinemas, concert halls, sporting events, banquet halls, convention centers, racing venues, and commercial film and television productions with studio audiences will have capacity limits of up to ‘to 50% or 10,000 people, whichever is less. This is an increase from the previous limit of 1,000 people.

The changes do not apply to restaurants, which this week had to start requesting proof of immunization from customers for indoor meals as the province’s vaccination certificate system went into effect.

Restaurants currently do not have capacity limits as such, but must allow a distance of two meters between tables. Yet they hoped to see this restriction lifted.

“We are disappointed, we were hoping the government would recognize the role we have played in controlling the pandemic,” said James Rilett, Vice President of Restaurants Canada.

“In fact, most restaurants are operating at around 50% of their capacity because of these limitations. Our thinking is that everyone who goes to restaurants should be vaccinated, it should be a safe space and we should be able to lift these distances by two meters. “

Moore said reviewing capacity limits at other sites is on his radar, but he doesn’t want to rush to open more because September also saw the reopening of elementary, secondary and post-secondary schools in person, and of many people returning physically to their workplace.

“Slow and steady has been our mantra over the past few months,” he said. “It has done us well and I want to keep our rates low.”

Ontario reported 727 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday and eight more deaths. More than 250 of these cases involved people between the ages of 20 and 39.

There are 193 people in intensive care units due to COVID-19, including 108 unvaccinated, 11 partially vaccinated, 11 fully vaccinated and the remaining 63 with unknown vaccine status.

About 86 percent of eligible Ontarians have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and about 80 percent are fully immunized.

The Ontario Human Rights Commission recently said that requiring vaccination “to protect people at work or while receiving services” is permitted under the Human Rights Code, although legitimate medical exemptions must be made. be taken into account.

The Human Rights Code prevents discrimination based on creed, but the commission said a singular belief against vaccinations or masks does not amount to a belief.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on September 24, 2021.