The Ontario government is reducing the capacity limits of large sports and entertainment venues to 50 percent in the wake of a COVID-19 surge in the province.
Any indoor facility that can hold 1,000 spectators or more will have to observe the new rules as of 12:01 a.m. on Dec. 18.
"This measure is being taken to reduce opportunities for close contact in high-risk indoor settings with large crowds and when masks are not always worn," the province said in a press release.
The NHL's Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators, and the NBA's Toronto Raptors are among those impacted by the announcement.
MLSE statement on venue capacity limit being set at 50% beginning Saturday. pic.twitter.com/vZak78bBuK
— Vivek Jacob (@vivekmjacob) December 15, 2021
With the Omicron variant leading to a spike in cases, the Ontario government is hoping new measures put in place will help slow the spread of the virus. Ontario reported 1,808 new cases on Wednesday.
"I know this will be tough, but it's an important step in ensuring we slow the spread of Omicron as we urgently accelerate boosters because, as I said earlier, it's all hands on deck," Premier Doug Ford said during a news conference. "This is a call to arms. And now more than ever, we need everyone to be doing their part."
Sports leagues around the world have been greatly impacted by the rising cases, with the NHL announcing on Wednesday the implementation of enhanced safety protocols. Thursday's game between the Raptors and Chicago Bulls was postponed as 10 Chicago players found themselves in the NBA's health and safety protocols.
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