Fans of most Toronto sports franchises will soon need to prove they are vaccinated or COVID-19 free to attend the games.

Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd. (MLSE) announced Tuesday that all of its sports facilities will require a vaccination test or negative test from fans prior to entry, seeking to ensure a virus-free experience for sporting events that are scheduled to take place. start in the fall. .

Those venues include Scotiabank Arena, home of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Raptors, BMO Field, home of the Toronto FC and Argonauts, as well as several MLSE-owned restaurants.

The company hasn’t said how many doses will be required from attendees, or how it will ask fans to prove they were vaccinated.

Charzie Abendanio, a spokeswoman for MLSE, said more details will be released in the coming weeks.

“As an organization that hosts more than four million fans per year, at hundreds of events in multiple venues, MLSE is proud to serve as a central meeting place in Toronto and recognizes its responsibility to provide attendees with a safe and secure environment. “Read the company’s statement Tuesday afternoon.

The prospect of live-audience sporting events has been a ray of hope for the giant sports and real estate company, which slashed wages and staffed during the pandemic amid a substantial drop in revenue. At the start of the pandemic, after sporting events were canceled and stadiums closed, CEO Michael Friisdahl told employees the closures had a “dramatic impact” on a company facing “financial pressure.”

Now the company is doing everything it can to ensure stadiums are running on a grand scale when two major leagues – the NHL and the NBA – kick off in October. In recent weeks, those plans have been put back in jeopardy as COVID-19 cases surge in Ontario, fueled by the relentless spread of the Delta variant.

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Provincial officials warned of a fourth wave that could trigger another round of closures in the fall. “I’m sorry to say it’s going to be a tough fall and winter,” Medical Director Kieran Moore told reporters at a sobering news conference on Tuesday.

For now, however, live sports events are still available.

MLSE is following the lead of teams like the Winnipeg Jets and Blue Bombers, who told fans last week that all attendees will have to be doubly empty and masked to enter the arena.

Winnipeg franchises said they surveyed customers and that 70 percent of them said they wanted proof of vaccination and mask requirements.

The new protocols at MLSE will affect employees, event staff, and guests at your facility.

“We believe these health and safety protocols are the key to enabling our communities and businesses to reopen safely, to allow events at full capacity, and to protect against further closures,” the company said.

Not all sports groups have accepted the vaccination requirements. The Toronto Blue Jays, for example, do not require fan testing before entering the Rogers Center.

The team says its policy aligns with the province’s guidelines for outdoor venues. MLSE locations, in addition to BMO Field, are covered.

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