Capacity increases celebrated by some but restaurants are wondering when it will be their turn


London, Ont. –

The next time the London Knights take to the ice at Budweiser Gardens, it could be in front of a full house.

As of Saturday, Ontario lifted capacity restrictions for some large venues, including those used for concerts, sports and movies.

“It solves a lot of logistical problems when trying to sort tickets,” said Trevor Whiffen, Governor of the London Knights.

Prior to the province’s announcement, Budweiser Gardens had a capacity of 50% or 4,518 fans. The problem for the Knights is they have 6,800 season ticket holders, so they were going to have to rotate.

“Especially with a lot of season ticket holders here in London or Toronto with the Maple Leafs,” said Whiffen. “This is great news and it is a great sign to society that the ministry believes we can move forward to full capacity.”

Fans outside of the Knights’ home opener had mixed feelings about a full hall.

London Knights fans cheer on their home team at Budweiser Gardens in London, Ont. Friday, October 8, 2021 (Gerry Dewan / CTV News)“The more hockey and the more people the better,” said Scott McGaw, who was in attendance with his son Christopher.

“I’m still a little wary,” said Bert O’Quinn, 10-year subscription holder. “The more we get vaccinated the better off we will be, but I would love to see the place full again.”

“As we continue to see more and more Ontarians rolling up their sleeves with more than 22 million doses administered, our government is cautiously lifting capacity limits in some settings where we know the proof of vaccination requirements provide. an extra layer of protection for Ontarians, ”said the Minister of Health. Christine Elliott said in a statement.

The statement goes on to say, “The fight against COVID-19 is not over and we must all remain vigilant by continuing to monitor the public health measures that we know to work and protect ourselves, and by receiving your first or second dose of. COVID-19 vaccine if you haven’t already.

Moira Adlan, co-owner of Hyland Cinema in London, Ontario. popcorn balls. She is delighted that capacity limits have been removed in theaters and cinemas across Ontario. October 9, 2021 (Brent Lale / CTV News)Venues with limited capacity include concert halls, theaters and cinemas.

“We were operating at 20% of our capacity and it’s just not enough,” said Moira Adlan, co-owner of Hyland Cinema in London, Ont.

Adlan thinks that with increased vaccinations and high protection rates, it’s time to open up theaters and get people back to watching movies.

“Our theater has 400 seats, it’s really big people scattered around anyway,” Adlan said. “We rarely sell full, so the good part about open seats is if people feel someone is too close, they can just move.”

The 400-seat theater at Hyland Cinema in London, Ontario. (Brent Lale / CTV News)

The following rooms will be able to operate at full capacity:

  • Concert halls, theaters and cinemas
  • Spectator areas for sports and recreational facilities (excluding gymnasiums and personal training)
  • Meeting and event spaces (indoor meeting and event spaces should always limit capacity to the number that can maintain a physical distance)
  • Horse racing tracks, car racing tracks and the like; and
  • Commercial film and television productions with studio audiences.
  • Some outdoor parameters which have a capacity less than 20,000

Proof of vaccination is required at sites where 100 percent capacity is allowed.

Other public health measures, such as masking and physical distancing, will remain in place.

Not everyone is thrilled with the most recent announcement, however. Some restaurateurs have expressed frustration at being left out.

“The industry is disheartened when they see larger sites opening with huge footfall, compared to hospitality rooms where it is easier to manage and follow security protocols,” said Tony Elenis, CEO of Ontario Restaurant Hotel and Motel Association.

“Restaurants operate with a mandatory vaccination program and this is the tool that can increase capacity,” Elenis adds.

Restaurants Canada survey shows 80 percent of restaurants break even or lose money.

“Their current expenses are overwhelming,” Elenis said. “They are paying off bank loans, personal loans and some of them have mortgaged their own homes. Prices have risen, labor costs have risen, and capacity limitations prevent the income needed to support a business. They need extra seats.

Restaurants Canada has called on the province to immediately lift all additional restrictions on the industry and provide additional support to recognize the cost of implementing the vaccine passport program.

– With files from the Canadian Press

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