OTTAWA -- The Senators and Redblacks will be able to have more fans in the stands at games this fall as Ontario expands capacity limits for sporting events, concerts and events.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore announced expanded capacity limits for some indoor and outdoor settings where proof of COVID-19 vaccine is required.

"With public health and health care indicators currently stable, and proof of vaccination now in effect, we are able to recommend cautiously easing capacity limits in certain settings," said Dr. Moore.

Capacity limits for indoor venues – including sporting events, concerts, theatres, cinemas, event spaces, banquet halls, convention centres and racing venues – will be increased to 50 per cent or 10,000 people, whichever is less.  For outdoor event venues where patrons are seated, capacity limits increase to 75 per cent capacity, up to 30,000 people.

“Increasing capacity limits does not mean that we can let our guards down. We must remain cautious and humble in the face of this Delta variant,” said Dr. Moore during a media conference in Toronto.

The new rules mean the Ottawa Senators could host approximately 9,300 fans for their first exhibition game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sept. 29.

The Senators announced several changes regarding seat availability and access for the pre-season games, with capacity capped at 9,300. Certain areas of the venue will provide limited food and beverage offerings. The arena’s 400 level suites and the Ledge Restaurant will be closed. Seats within the 300 level will be limited to those that have purchased those tickets before today..

All fans must be fully vaccinated to attend games at Canadian Tire Centre, and wear masks inside the arena.

"The Senators continue to work with the province of Ontario as we move towards full capacity at CTC, which we continue to aim to achieve by opening night against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Oct. 14," said Eugene Melnyk, Senators owner and governor.

Earlier this month, the Senators said they expected to be able to host capacity crowds of 18,652 when the NHL regular season starts next month.

Outdoor sports venues were previously limited to 15,000 spectators in attendance, or 75 per cent of usual, pre-COVID capacity, whichever is less. Indoor sports venues were limited to 1,000 fans under Ontario's COVID-19 guidelines.

The Ottawa Redblacks have been allowed a maximum capacity of 15,000 fans at games at TD Place so far this season.  With a capacity of 24,000 fans TD Place, the Redblacks would be allowed to have 18,000 fans for games under the new capacity limits.

For outdoor events venues where patrons stand, capacity limits will increase to up to 75 per cent capacity or 15,000 people, whichever is less.

"This is in recognition of the fact that the risk of transmission is lower because of reduced mobility around the venue," said the Ontario government. 

In addition, proof of vaccination will now be required in outdoor settings where the normal maximum capacity is 20,000 people or more to help keep these venues safe for patrons.

CINEMAS, THEATRES, MEETING AND EVENT SPACES

The Ontario government is also expanding capacity limits for indoor settings where proof of vaccination is required, including banquet halls, convention centres, theatres and cinemas.

The new rules will set capacity at up to 50 per cent or 10,000 people for indoor events, whichever is less.