True North to keep full capacity at Winnipeg Jets games

The Winnipeg Jets and Manitoba Moose will continue to play in front of full-capacity crowds, despite recent warnings from health officials about an expected rise in COVID-19 cases.

In a release late Thursday, True North Sports and Entertainment said both Canada Life Centre and the Burton Cummings Theatre will continue to run at 100 per cent capacity for games and concerts.

That comes a day after the Ontario government announced it would be reducing capacity limits by 50 per cent for large indoor venues — including sports arenas — amid concerns around the Omicron variant.

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“We thank all of our guests who have been looking out for one another with diligent mask use at games and events at Canada Life Centre this season,” said True North’s Kevin Donnelly in the release.

“While there are many aspects of the pandemic we cannot control, we can all play a part in keeping our community safe.

“In addition to the continued proof of vaccination requirement to enter our venues, mask use will be essential to our ability to continue to gather for Winnipeg Jets and Manitoba Moose games and the many concerts and events coming up at our venues.”

True North said it “continues to confer and collaborate” with Manitoba health officials as the “impacts and spread of COVID-19 variant Omicron are monitored locally.”

The new rules in Ontario — which put capacity limits of 50 per cent on indoor areas of venues with a normal capacity of 1,000 or more — will take effect on Saturday at 12:01 a.m.

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Manitoba’s chief public health officer released preliminary modelling Wednesday that showed the number of new daily infections could more than quadruple as the Omicron variant spreads in the coming weeks — from the current level of about 200 to as much as 1,000 by early January.

Dr. Brent Roussin recommended Mantiobans reduce their personal contacts and said Manitobans should “rethink our plans over the holidays of large gatherings.”

But Roussin stopped short of introducing further public health orders and the province showed no sign of putting a halt to mass gatherings that only fully vaccinated people can attend.

Fans are currently required proof of full vaccination to get into both Canada Life Centre and the Burton Cummings Theatre and must keep a mask on at all times when not eating or drinking.

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“Mask use has overwhelmingly been embraced and supported at Winnipeg Jets and Manitoba Moose games,” said Donnelly.

“As a reminder for those who are consuming food and beverages, the requirement is to pull masks back up between sips and bites.”

— with files from Ryan Rocca and The Canadian Press

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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