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Capacity limits could be lifted for venues with COVID-19 vaccination policies: Ontario top doctor

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Ontario’s top doctor said Tuesday that he believes capacity limits could be lifted for venues where there are COVID-19 vaccination policies in place.

Dr. Kieran Moore said during his weekly COVID-19 update that while he would like to see more than 90 per cent of eligible Ontarians vaccinated, that’s an “aspirational goal.”

“I don’t think it should be a measure by which we can hold businesses back,” he said, though during the briefing he repeatedly said that higher immunization levels are key to curbing COVID-19’s impact in Ontario.

“I’m very supportive that many of these businesses have adopted immunization strategies …

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“I would think that the government should assess that and if everyone in that environment’s immunized, that’s a very low-risk event and I would hope that the government would make a decision to enable them to move forward, even if we have other restrictions in place.”

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Moore said that could apply to different venues, including hockey games, basketball games or baseball games.

Under current COVID-19 restrictions in Ontario, capacity limits remain in place for some facilities.

In terms of sports and recreational fitness facilities, indoor venues are permitted to have spectators at 50 per cent of capacity or a maximum of 1,000 people (whichever is less); outdoor venues with fixed seating are able to have a maximum capacity of 75 per cent or 15,000 people (again, whichever is less).

Recently, many sports organizations have announced vaccination policies in Ontario.

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Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment announced patrons and staff will be required to show proof of vaccination or a negative test result in order to access any of its properties.

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Also, the Ontario Hockey League will require all spectators to show proof of full vaccination and the Toronto Blue Jays said those wishing to enter Rogers Centre will be required to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test starting Sept. 13.

“Many of them are stepping up, embracing immunization policies and I do think the government will look very favourably on that and not hold them back in any restriction, but that would be a government decision,” Moore said.

His comments come one week after he announced that Ontario would remain in Step 3 of the reopening roadmap for now.

— with files from Nick Westoll, Daina Goldfinger, and The Canadian Press

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