MONTREAL — The Montreal Impact will have some fans at their first Major League Soccer home game during the COVID-19 pandemic next week, making them the first professional sports team in Canada to play in front of spectators.
The club said Thursday that a maximum of 250 people will be allowed in 20,081-seat Stade Saputo when the Impact face the Vancouver Whitecaps next Tuesday. The crowd of 250 is the maximum allowed under Quebec public health rules.
"We are very happy to welcome fans for the resumption of the season at Stade Saputo. We can't wait to see supporters at the stadium," Impact president and CEO Kevin Gilmore said in a statement. "We would have liked to return to the stadium with full capacity, but the persisting situation has dictated otherwise.
"Taking that into consideration while also consulting public authorities, we have made a commitment to being one of the safest forms of entertainment in Montreal, because we want our supporters to feel comfortable being here."
Toronto FC is playing two games with no fans this week, while the Vancouver Whitecaps said they will have no fans for their three home games in September.
The three Canadian teams are only playing each other for the next month because of border restrictions.
The Impact said club members will have first access to tickets, which start at $49, starting Thursday.
The general public then will be able to purchase tickets — if the match is not already sold out — as of 8 p.m. ET on Saturday.
The club said public health measures, including mandatory mask-wearing for spectators over age 10, will be in place during the match.
Fans will also have their temperatures taken before entering the stadium.
After its Aug. 25 game against the Whitecaps, the Impact will host Toronto FC on Aug. 28. The two teams will play again at BMO Field in Toronto on Sept. 1, followed by a third and final game at Stade Saputo on Sept. 9.
Montreal will then head Vancouver to take on the Whitecaps in two matches on Sept. 13 and Sept. 16.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Aug. 20, 2020.
The Canadian Press