Ontario has lifted COVID-19 capacity limits in some places that are asking patrons to show proof of vaccination, a move that is being met with mixed reactions from various industries.
As of Saturday morning, cinemas, theatres, concerts and spectator sports venues and car and horse racing tracks are allowed to open at full capacity.
Physical distancing requirements have been removed, with a few exceptions such as indoor meeting and event spaces, which must still maintain a distance of two meters between people.
Provincial officials said some outbreaks have occurred in selected settings and most other public health measures such as masks are in place.
Michael Frisdahl, president and CEO of Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment, said he is “extremely pleased” that the organization can once again welcome a full venue to delight the Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Raptors.
Frisdahl said in a statement on Twitter, “We are grateful to all levels of government for their participation in this process and we believe that we work together to ensure the safest environment for every event participant and our community.” will continue to do so.” .
Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe said that the most important thing is that it is now recognized as safe at full capacity.
Defenseman Morgan Reilly said the team was waiting for the crowd.
“We just missed that atmosphere? It’s hard to put your finger on it, but when you’re late in the game and you hear the noise of the crowd, that feeling, it really boosts our team, “They said.
Cineplex spokeswoman Melissa Presaco said in a statement that the change is “welcome news” in theaters.
“We’re still reviewing yesterday’s exciting announcement and what it will mean for movie-lovers in Ontario,” she said.
Capacity rules remain in effect for other places that require proof of vaccination, such as gyms and restaurants.
Restaurants Canada said it is “extremely disappointed” that the Ontario government has chosen to increase capacity limits in some locations, but not for the “hardest-hit” food service industry.
In a statement released Friday, the national, non-profit association representing Canada’s restaurant and food service industry said it does not understand why they are “singled out” by the Ontario government and the tough COVID-19 pandemic. face sanctions.
Restaurants Canada said, “It is inconceivable that 20,000 people can shout, shout and closely congregate in an arena without masks, while restaurants must adhere to strict regulations that limit the number of customers.” can severely limit.”
Paramount Fine Foods CEO Mohamed Fakih echoed these comments on social media, saying that while safely reopening is the No. 1 priority, restaurants and small businesses are being “scapegoated and punished.”
Restaurants Canada has called on the province to immediately lift all further restrictions on the industry and provide additional support to recognize the cost of implementing the Vaccine Passport program.
Goodlife Fitness CEO Jason Sheridan said the gym club company will continue to comply with public health regulations and looks forward to “further collaborative dialogue with government stakeholders”.
The provincial government said it was making changes based on higher vaccination rates, stable public health indicators and a vaccine certification policy.
Ontario reported 654 new COVID-19 cases and two deaths from the virus on Saturday.
Of the new cases, 464 infected people have not been fully vaccinated or have unknown immunization status. The province said 190 cases are among fully vaccinated people.
There are 153 people in intensive care due to COVID-19, including 139 patients who have not been fully vaccinated or have unknown immunization status.
Provincial data says about 87 percent of Ontario residents age 12 and older have received a single dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 82 percent have had both shots.