Spectator capacity to expand at some rinks in Halifax region starting Sunday

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There could be more fans in the rink beginning Sunday.

Seven arenas in the Halifax region will be allowed to increase the number of spectators to a maximum of 100.

All rinks across the municipality were limited to 50 spectators while a set of standard guidelines was developed to meet COVID-19 safety protocols.

At Cole Harbour Place, the Scotia 1 arena will have enough space for 85 people as of Nov. 1.

"Hockey is ramping up," said Jen Heddon, Cole Harbour Place's general manager. "Parents want to come. There's siblings and grandparents, so this will allow a few more in to see the kids play."

Masks, COVID-19 screening mandatory

The municipality said spectators will have to wear masks at all times and maintain physical distancing. No food or drink will be permitted.

People must complete COVID-19 pre-screening and can only enter the arena five minutes before a game. They must leave immediately afterward.

Five other arenas will increase capacity for spectators on Sunday:

  • BMO Centre Rink D, increasing to 100.

  • Halifax Civic, increasing to 75.

  • Halifax Forum, increasing to 100.

  • St. Margaret's Centre-Fountain, increasing to 100.

  • Zatzman Sportsplex, increasing to 100.

RBC Centre Rink C will increase capacity to 100 people effective Nov. 15.

Nine other rinks, including the LeBrun Arena in Bedford, the Sackville Sports Stadium and the Centennial Arena in Fairview, will continue to limit the number of spectators to 50.

Space an issue for some

Some rinks simply don't have enough space to accommodate an increase in spectators while adhering to social distancing guidelines.

But Michelle Poteri, an administrator for the Centennial Arena, said that's not the issue at her facility. She said it's just too much of a challenge to ensure people are following the rules to allow more spectators into the stands.

"They're still used to the old way of standing together in a group, and that's not allowed" said Poteri. "It's a full-time job just keeping them on track."

Poteri also said people try to bring food and drinks into the dressing room, or forget to wear their masks.

The municipality said restrictions could be reinstated if spectators fail to follow public health guidelines.