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Province easing capacity restrictions for indoor conference, convention venues

Additional changes are being made to outdoor events
PDAC Pavilion
The Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada has announced a return to an in-person format for its convention in 2022. (FedNor photo)

Capacity restrictions related to COVID-19 are being eased for meeting, conference and convention venues.

On Sept. 24, the province announced that it’s increasing capacity for select indoor facilities to up to 50 per cent capacity or 10,000 people, whichever is less.

The changes are applicable to meeting and event spaces, such as banquet halls and conference and convention centres, as well as film and television productions with studio audiences.

Also falling under this category are sporting events; concerts, theatres and cinemas; and racing venues.

The changes come into effect on Sept. 25 at 12:01 a.m.

Ontario’s Health Minister Christine Elliot said the decision was being made on the advice of the province’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Kieran Moore.

“With more and more Ontarians joining millions of others in rolling up their sleeves, our government is taking a safe and cautious approach to ease capacity limits in certain settings where proof of vaccination is required,” Elliot said in a Sept. 24 news release.

“With the added layer of protection offered by proof of vaccination, we are ensuring our businesses can remain safe and open as we continue to reach even more Ontarians who have yet to receive a first or second dose.”

The province is additionally amending its guidelines for outdoor event venues.

In places where patrons stand, capacity limits will increase to up to 75 per cent capacity or 15,000, whichever is less.

For certain outdoor event venues where patrons are seated, capacity limits will be increased to up to 75 per cent capacity or 30,000 people, whichever is less.

“This is in recognition of the fact that the risk of transmission is lower because of reduced mobility around the venue,” the province said.

“In addition, proof of vaccination will now be required in outdoor settings where the normal maximum capacity is 20,000 people or more to help keep these venues safe for patrons.”

A number of conferences have started to announce plans to resume in-person events starting in 2022, including the annual Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) convention, as well as the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.