The Montreal Canadiens asks the Quebec government to increase the arena capacity to 50%

The Montreal Canadiens stated that they are asking the province to allow 10,500 fans to participate in the upcoming playoffs in Montreal, up from 3,500.

France Margaret Bélanger, executive vice president and chief commercial officer of the team, told reporters today that discussions with the Quebec government began on Friday, but the team has not yet received a response.

Bélanger said that with the Canadians’ Stanley Cup Finals series’ first home game against the Tampa Bay Chargers scheduled for Friday, she hopes to get the answer today.

“The Bell Center has 2 million square feet, so we have a lot of space, and we intend to use this space to ensure that all these people keep their distance from each other,” she said. Fans will sit at 14, she said, the part of hundreds of people has separate entrances and catering facilities. Wearing a mask is mandatory.

“Since we resumed operations at Bell Center on January 3, we have never had a COVID case in Bell Center, which is what we want. We don’t want any progress,” Beranger said.

Change provincial sanitation rules

She said the team is willing to request proof of vaccination as a condition of admission, but Quebec has so far ruled out the use of so-called vaccine passports to allow people to participate in private events.

The Ministry of Health of the province stated that it has received a request from the team and is discussing it with public health authorities.

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Since the Canadians started the playoffs, Quebec has changed its COVID-19 restrictions several times. Some of these initiatives—including increasing the arena’s capacity from 2,500 to 3,500 and extending the bar’s last call time—seem to be driven by the team’s success.

Dr. Donald Vinh, an infectious disease expert at the McGill University Health Center in Montreal, said: “Sometimes I worry about whether decisions about crowd gathering in the arena are driven by sports passion rather than science.” The Montreal Canadiens did not enter the postseason. Race, will we allow this to happen? I am not sure. ”

Vinh said in an interview on Tuesday that he was concerned about the ability to keep distance and force a mask in the arena. He said that if more fans are allowed to participate, it makes sense to request proof of vaccination.

‘Safe viewing area’

Dr. Leighanne Parkes, an infectious disease expert at the Montreal Jewish General Hospital, said that if there are no proper safety measures, increasing the arena capacity may become a “super spreader” incident.

However, if measures are taken to reduce the risk, such as mandatory wearing of masks and the use of quick tests, increasing the capacity of the arena — and creating other “safe viewing spots”, such as in city parks — may be larger than those held outside the arena on the night of the game. Unofficial party.

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She said that, in particular, if someone is infected, controlling the viewing of the game will allow contact tracing.

She said this is an opportunity for public health and it can be said that “we will do it in the safest way possible because it will happen anyway,” she said.

The team plans to show the away game to 3,500 fans on the big screen in the arena starting from Wednesday.

During home and away games, a large number of fans gathered outside the arena and watched on screens in nearby restaurants.

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