Officials at Budweiser Gardens in London, Ontario, are expressing enthusiasm for the province’s plan to increase capacity limits in certain locations where proof of COVID-19 vaccination is required.
During a news conference Friday, the province’s chief medical officer, Dr. Kieran Moore, said the Ontario government was cautiously expanding capacity limits for many indoor environments that require proof of vaccination, such as sporting events, halls of concerts, cinemas and convention centers.
Starting at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, capacity limits at those locations, including Budweiser Gardens, will be increased to 50 percent of capacity or 10,000 people, whichever is less.
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For outdoor events where people are standing, the limit will be increased to 75 percent or 15,000 people, whichever is less, while for outdoor venues where customers are seated, the limit will be 75 percent or 30,000 people. Proof of vaccination will now be required in outdoor settings where the normal capacity is 20,000 or more.
“Thanks to the tremendous efforts of Ontarians to adhere to public health measures and go out and get vaccinated, some of our key health and public health indicators are currently stable,” Moore explained in a statement.
However, he noted that Ontarians must remain vigilant, continue to adhere to pandemic measures, and work to vaccinate as many people as possible. Nearly 80 percent of eligible Ontarians have received both required vaccinations.
With the new limits not going into effect until Saturday, the London Knight’s preseason home game on Friday against the Barrie Colts will still be limited to 1,000 people. But in exactly one week, when the Knights play their next home game against Hamilton, Bud Gardens will be able to house roughly 4,500.
The October 1 game will be the first event at the venue under the new capacity limit. In pre-pandemic times, Budweiser Gardens’ capacity was up to 9,036 people for hockey games and up to 10,200 for certain concerts.
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“This is what we’ve heard is going to happen, and it did, and that’s very exciting indeed,” said Brian Ohl, general manager of Budweiser Gardens, in an interview with Mike Stubbs of 980 CFPL shortly after Moore’s announcement. .
“We have not received any details, and obviously we will go through this. The devil is always in the details, you know, like ‘Okay, what does this really mean?’ “
Budweiser Gardens customers must present proof of complete COVID-19 vaccination to enter the venue, excluding those with valid medical exemptions who have to provide a negative COVID-19 test performed less than 48 hours prior to the event. Masking is also required, except for eating or drinking.
“The regular season is fast approaching and it is an exciting time for everyone,” OHL Commissioner David Branch said in a statement Friday after Moore’s press conference. “This announcement only amplifies that energy as the League and its member teams look forward to welcoming more of our great fans at venues across the province.”
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Like many places in Ontario and across Canada, the COVID-19 pandemic has not been easy for Budweiser Gardens.
Earlier this year, the venue’s 2020 annual report showed an overall loss of $ 648,422 for the 2019-20 fiscal year, marking the first time Budweiser Gardens has reported a financial loss since it opened in 2002.
With the past 18 months in mind, for Ohl, Friday’s announcement from the province was good news.
“We, along with many other places, have been at the forefront of demanding vaccines and doing all of that,” Ohl said. “Just because we are trying to show the province that we are serious about this, and we really need to reopen, go back to business, get people back to work and people back to entertain themselves and have something to do wait. “
OHL’s regular season begins on October 7, and the Knights’ first home game takes place on October 8.
Budweiser Gardens is scheduled to host the 2021 Canadian Country Music Awards on November 29. You can find a full list of upcoming events on the site website.
– With files from The Canadian Press
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