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Ontario relaxes capacity limits for some sports and event sites

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TORONTO — Ontario is easing capacity limits in some venues where proof of vaccination is required, paving the way for more people immunized against COVID-19 to attend Blue conventions, concerts and games Jays.

The relaxed restrictions come as daily case rates in Ontario have remained stable for the past few weeks, and the province’s chief medical officer of health said he was confident it could be done safely.

“Increasing capacity limits doesn’t mean we can let our guard down,” said Dr Kieran Moore. “We must remain cautious and humble in the face of this Delta variant.”


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From Saturday, capacity limits at outdoor events where people hang out will increase to 75% capacity or 15,000 people, whichever is lower. 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% capacity or 30,000 people.

This means the Blue Jays are able to increase the capacity of Rogers Center in Toronto to 30,000 – from 15,000 spectators – for their effort to qualify for the playoffs.

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

Indoors, cinemas, concert halls, sporting events, banquet halls, convention centers, race halls and commercial film and television productions with studio audiences will have capacity limits up to 50% or 10,000 people, whichever is lower. That’s up from a previous limit of 1,000 people.


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

Restaurants currently don’t 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 that the government would recognize the role we have played in controlling the pandemic,” said James Rilett, vice-president of Restaurants Canada.

“Indeed, most restaurants are operating at around 50% capacity due to these limits. Our thinking is that everyone who enters the restaurant needs to be vaccinated, it needs to be a safe space and we should be able to lift those two meter distances. »


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

“Slow and steady has been our mantra over the past few months,” he said. “We liked it 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 vaccination status.


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

The Ontario Human Rights Commission recently stated that mandating vaccination “to protect people at work or while receiving services” is permitted under the Human Rights Code, although legitimate medical exemptions should be granted.

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

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



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