Raptors, Maple Leafs ban fans for at least three weeks

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Dec 10 2021; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam (43) shoots New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) in the second half at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Raptors and Toronto Maple Leafs will not allow fans to attend NBA and NHL games at Scotiabank Arena starting Friday due to increased cases of COVID-19.

In a statement, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment – which owns the building and the two franchises – said it expects the limitations to be in place for at least three weeks.

The move comes after the province of Ontario said it was temporarily capping entertainment venues at 1,000 or 50% of capacity, whichever is less.

“We look forward to welcoming fans back as soon as the province deems it safe,” MLSE said in a statement.

Earlier this month, the Raptors and Maple Leafs had already started operating at 50% capacity, before Ontario announced tighter restrictions that would limit the arena to 19,800 seats (18,800 for hockey) to a maximum of 1,000 fans.

The move could cause the NHL to postpone more Maple Leafs games altogether. Earlier this week, the league postponed nine upcoming games to be played in Canada due to the inability of several Canadian cities to welcome fans. One of them was the Maple Leafs’ Jan. 3 home game against the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Leafs, who haven’t played since Dec. 14 due to COVID-19, are still expected to host the Ottawa Senators on Saturday and the Edmonton Oilers next Wednesday. A January 17 home date with the New Jersey Devils will likely be affected as well.

The Raptors, who played the entirety of last season in Tampa, Fla. Due to border crossing restrictions, have six home games scheduled between Friday and Jan. 11 before a five-game road trip.

– Media at field level

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