Sports venues in Quebec are free to return to full capacity from Friday after the provincial government lifted COVID-19 restrictions.
The decision paves the way for the Montreal Canadiens to welcome fans to the Bell Centre (pictured) when the new NHL season gets underway next week. The Canadiens’ first home game is against the New York Rangers on October 16.
It had been expected that the Canadiens would be restricted to operating at 33% for the start of the season but this will not be the case. The announcement means that the only NHL team that is not currently scheduled to operate at full capacity for the start of the season is the Vancouver Canucks.
France Margaret Bélanger, president of sports and entertainment at Groupe CH, which owns the Canadiens, said: “We are obviously very happy with the government’s decision to allow us to operate at full capacity again. It goes without saying that this is great news for all the culture, entertainment and sports industries which have been hit hard by the pandemic.
“We are excited to see the fans back in our venues and we will make sure to maintain the standards of excellence in terms of health measures to ensure a return to normality with respect to security.”
Major League Soccer franchise CF Montréal will also be able to play the remaining home games of its 2021 season at Stade Saputo with full crowds. The club’s next home game is against Philadelphia Union on October 16.
CF Montréal returned to Stade Saputo on July 17, which marked the first time it had played at its home venue since September 2020. The game against FC Cincinnati was attended by 5,000 fans.
A vaccine passport scheme has been in place in Quebec since September 1. All fans aged 13 years and older seeking to attend a CF Montréal match will be required to show proof of vaccination. Mask wearing will also be required.