Sports leagues around the world continue to be affected by COVID-19 in 2021. With cases on the rise once again in December, at least one professional sports arena plans to make a major change to try and curb the spread of the virus.
According to Sportsnet, the Ontario, Canada government announced new rules for stadiums in the region. The most tangible change that those arenas will be required is limiting capacity to 50 percent at home games, starting this Saturday.
The policy change will affect not only the Toronto Raptors, but also the two NHL teams, the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Ottawa Senators.
“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 Ontario government said in a media release, per Sportsnet.
The Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors and Ottawa Senators will be limited to 50 per cent capacity at home games starting Saturday after Ontario unveiled new rules to combat COVID-19 on Wednesday.https://t.co/zoV0Ilx7am
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) December 15, 2021
Ontario is the first region in North America to announce a capacity limit for NHL or NBA teams this season.
“Let’s be very clear, you’ve got to target the largest venues,” Ontario Premier Doug Ford said at a press conference Wednesday. “Sports games, large concerts — people aren’t masking as much as (organizers) implore them to mask. They all aren’t masking. You’re sitting side by side for hours. Compared to a restaurant, that’s comparing apples and bananas as far as I’m concerned, not even apples and oranges.”
The Raptors already saw their 2020 season affected by COVID-19. The only Canadian NBA organization played its game in Tampa Bay, Florida because of restrictions the Canadian government put on travel across the border.
While the Raptors won’t have to pack up shop and move again, they will be forced to limit their crowds for the time being. Toronto will first make the change on Saturday when the Golden State Warriors come to town.
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