OTTAWA — The Ottawa Senators have eliminated their mask mandate for fans beginning Saturday.

The move comes amid Ontario's easing of COVID-19 restrictions, and on the heels of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd., announcing the elimination of masks mandates as of Monday for Toronto Maple Leafs and Raptors games.

"As has been the case throughout the pandemic, we’ve routinely liaised with city and provincial health officials before embarking on our own next steps of the reopening process," Senators president of business operations Anthony LeBlanc said in a statement. "In lockstep with Ottawa Public Health, we'll continue to encourage patrons to take all measures they feel are important to their safety and that of others."

While wearing a mask is voluntary, the Senators are still recommending it in consideration with public health information and local health officials' guidance. Masks will remain mandatory for Senators Sports & Entertainment staff members, along with third-party vendors at Canadian Tire Centre through the end of the 2021-22 season.

MLSE's mask mandate ended Monday, although they say masks remain "strongly recommended." The changes will be in effect on Wednesday when the Maple Leafs host the New Jersey Devils. The Raptors host Cleveland on Thursday.

The Montreal Canadiens are the only NHL team in Canada with a mask mandate.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 22, 2022.