OTTAWA -- The Ottawa Senators will be able to have a full house for the first Battle of Ontario at Canadian Tire Centre next week.

The Ontario government has announced it's "cautiously lifting capacity limits" in select indoor and outdoor settings where proof of vaccination is required, allowing 100 per cent capacity in venues used for concerts, sports and movie theatres.

The new measures mean the Senators, Redblacks and Ottawa 67's can have full capacity for all games this season.

Effective Saturday, Oct. 9, capacity limits will be lifted to allow 100 per cent capacity in the following settings:

  • Concert venues, theatres and cinemas;
  • Spectator areas of facilities for sports and recreational fitness (would not include gyms, personal training);
  • Meeting and event spaces (indoor meeting and event spaces will still need to limit capacity to the number that can maintain physical distancing);
  • Horseracing tracks, car racing tracks, and other similar venues; and
  • Commercial film and television productions with studio audiences.

Previously the province allowed indoor venues to have 50 per cent capacity, or 10,000 people, whichever is less. For outdoor event venues where patrons are seated, capacity limits were 75 per cent, up to 30,000 people.

The Senators announced early Friday evening that the team is preparing to welcome a capacity crowd of 18,652 fans at Canadian Tire Centre for the home opener against Toronto Thursday night.

"We’re thrilled with today’s announcement," said Eugene Melnyk, Senators owner and governor.

"On behalf of the organization, I want to thank the many government officials with whom we’ve liaised extensively, including Premier Doug Ford, to reach this point while assuring our fans that we’ll continue to remain cautious and take all preventative measures to guarantee individuals’ collective safety when at our building."

The Senators will require everyone aged 12 and older to provide proof of full vaccination to enter Canadian Tire Centre.

Mask wearing will also be a mandatory requirement with exception of while eating or drinking, while restaurants within the building will continue to operate at reduced capacity.

The Ottawa 67's will be permitted to have full capacity in its 8,000 seat arena for its home opener at TD Place Arena on Sunday, and its second game of the season on Monday.

Capacity at TD Place for Redblacks games is 24,000 people.

The Ontario government says while capacity limits have been lifted to allow 100 per cent capacity in concert venues, theatres, cinemas and sports arenas, other measures will remain in place – face coverings, screening and the collection of patron information to support contact tracing.

Proof of vaccination will continue to be required in outdoor settings where the normal maximum capacity is 20,000 people or more to help keep these venues safe for patrons, the province says.

"As we continue to see more Ontarians roll up their sleeves with over 22 million doses administered, our government is cautiously lifting capacity limits in select settings where we know proof of vaccination requirements are providing an added layer of protection to Ontarians,"  said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “The fight against COVID-19 is not over and we must all remain vigilant by continuing to follow the public health measures we know work and keep us safe, and receiving your first or second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine if you have not already done so.”