Toronto’s large sports, entertainment venues review mask protocols amid provincial changes

With masks no longer mandated at most indoor venues in Ontario as of March 21, operators of large sporting and entertainment venues are now reviewing COVID-19 protocols and preparing to welcome thousands of fans and guests without masks.

Cineplex says it’s pleased to see restrictions continue to ease in Ontario.

“(We) are currently reviewing what the announcement means for movie-lovers in the province. The health and safety of our employees and guests remains our top priority and, as always, we will continue to follow guidelines set forth by all levels of government ,” said Samantha Shecter, the company’s manager of communications.

Despite the Ontario’s government’s announcement, individual venue operators can still choose whether to require staff and guests to wear masks.

The National Ballet of Canada says it will be requiring all guests to wear masks and provide proof of vaccination until the end of its winter season at the Four Seasons Center for the Performing Arts.

“We want to err on the side of caution, keep the audience safe and keep the performers safe,” said Executive Director Barry Hughson.

Hughson adds that during the spring break they will review whether masks will still be required for the summer season beginning in June.

“Once we get into April, we’ll continue to follow the health trends and re-evaluate.”

For some smaller concert venues, like Lee’s Palace and the Horseshoe Tavern, no longer requiring masks is not as simple as it sounds.

“Most of the offers which we’ve placed for our bands are done months in advance – when we had mask mandates plus COVID-19 screening,” said General Manager Bruce Bennett, who adds that its bands traveling from the United States appear to be more concerned.

Instead, Bennett says, they will consult with the bands and determine whether masks will be required on a case-by-case basis in the immediate future.

“If the band feels more comfortable having it in place, we will enforce it. If they don’t want it in place. we will work with that,” said Bennett.

Bennett adds he hopes masks will no longer be required for any performances in the spring.

Spokespeople for the Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Raptors told CTV News Toronto they would take “appropriate time to consider and consult based on that information.”

The Toronto Blue Jay’s did not indicate if the mask mandate would be lifted for the home opener, which is still pending due to the ongoing lockout.

Both the Royal Ontario Museum and Mirvish Productions indicated they are currently reviewing the new guidance.

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