TORONTO — The new COVID-19 surge is impacting sports fans in Ontario.
The Toronto Maple Leafs and Raptors plus the Ottawa Senators will see their venue capacity reduced to 50 per cent at home games starting Saturday.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford unveiled the new rules on Wednesday amid the rise of cases and the new Omicron variant.
"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 release.
The rule, which also impacts other sports leagues such as the Ontario Hockey League, states that any venue with the capacity for 1,000 or more people, will see allowable limits capped at 50 per cent.
The first NBA or NHL game impacted will be the Raptors versus the Golden State Warriors on Saturday.
The Raptors marked a triumphant return to Scotiabank Arena in October after being forced to play their home games last season out of Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla., due to border restrictions and COVID-19 safety protocols in Toronto and Ontario.
Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd., which owns the Leafs and Raptors, had already required proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to attend games this season.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 15, 2021.