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Halifax’s Scotiabank Centre reopens for Mooseheads’ season opener

Click to play video 'Halifax Mooseheads return to ice with a plan to compete and keep COVID-19 at bay' Halifax Mooseheads return to ice with a plan to compete and keep COVID-19 at bay
The Halifax Mooseheads and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s return to play next month will look a lot different than what the team is used to.

The home of the Halifax Mooseheads will reopen next month to host the team’s season home opener, although the experience will be different as a result of COVID-19.

The Scotiabank Centre will reopen on Oct. 3, after its reopening framework was reviewed by Nova Scotia’s public health and occupational health and safety departments, the company operating the centre and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) team announced on Tuesday.

“We’re thrilled to be reopening and welcoming our fans back to Scotiabank Centre,” said Carrie Cussons, the president and CEO of Scotiabank Centre.

Read more: Halifax Mooseheads return to ice with a plan to compete and keep COVID-19 at bay

The centre will be following all standard health and safety guidelines related to the wearing of non-medical masks, hand hygiene, physical distancing and contact tracing, the company said.

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But there will be additional protections put in place as well in order to limit any possible spread of the novel coronavirus.

Scotiabank Centre will be divided into separate zones of up to 200 people with set washrooms, concessions and entrance/exit points for each zone.

The organization also announced that tickets will be sold in groups of up to 10 within the same bubble, respecting the province’s guidelines on gatherings.

Fans and attendees will be required to wear a non-medical mask at all times, except when they are consuming food or beverages, the Scotiabank Centre said.

Tickets will also be mobile-only in order to minimize close contact between individuals.

Click to play video 'Local hockey fans watching QMJHL return to play plan closely' Local hockey fans watching QMJHL return to play plan closely
Local hockey fans watching QMJHL return to play plan closely

The Scotiabank Centre also said it has put new cleaning and hygiene protocols in place to ensure that frequently touched locations and surfaces will be disinfected thoroughly and regularly. That will include a deep cleaning before and after each game.

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Hand sanitizing stations will be located throughout the venue and at all entry points. Signs will be in place to reinforce and encourage hygiene etiquette.

Season regulars will also see a different experience. The Mooseheads will be offering two separate bundles of 15 pre-selected tickets to season ticket holders on Tuesday, Sept. 15.

Those who held a 15-game package of tickets will be offered the bundles on Sept. 17.

As Global News has previously reported, the Mooseheads’ players and staff have been adjusting to new rules and requirements around COVID-19.

All coaches are required to wear masks and safety glasses while on the bench.

Every player and staff member is required to have their temperature taken each morning and has to fill out questionnaires as well.

Read more: COVID-19 — Halifax mayor calls cancellation of IIHF hockey championships ‘the right decision’

The team will be playing in a division that is limited to teams in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and P.E.I.

The decision from the QMJHL is meant to reduce traffic and the number of overnight stays in hotels.

“We’ve altered our schedule. We’ve changed our seating plan. We’ve worked hand-in-hand with our partners at Scotiabank Centre to provide a safe, responsible environment for our players, fans, arena staff and members of our organization,” Bobby Smith, the majority owner of the Halifax Mooseheads, said in a press release.

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“We can’t wait to get back to doing what we enjoy most: playing great hockey in front of the best hockey fans anywhere.”

With files from Global News’ Jesse Thomas