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Anti-vaxxers to be barred from Toronto events like Leafs and Raptors games

It’s about to get much more difficult for the Toronto anti-vax crowd to enjoy a night out on the town, with the owner of local sports franchises like the Leafs, Raptors, and Toronto FC the latest company to announce a vaccine policy for employees, event staff, and guests.

Joining the growing list of large Toronto employers who have already or plan to enforce vaccine policies, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE) announced a much-anticipated vaccine policy today.

The organization will be barring those without vaccination certificates or who cannot provide proof of a negative test from their facilities effective next month.

MLSE owns the NBA's Toronto Raptors, the NHL's Toronto Maple Leafs, the CFL's Argonauts, and the MLS' Toronto FC, as well as a few farm teams supporting these major franchises. This means that facilities like Scotiabank Arena and BMO Field will be off-limits to anti-vaxxers as of September 16th.

The policy also extends to MLSE's full portfolio of sports facilities and restaurants, including The OVO Athletic Centre, Coca-Cola Coliseum, e11even.

MLSE's full statement is included below:

To continue to combat the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, MLSE announced that effective mid-September attendees (including employees, event staff and guests) will be required to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result to gain access to its arenas, stadium and restaurants.

As an organization that hosts more than four million fans per year, at hundreds of events in multiple venues, MLSE is proud to serve as a central gathering place in Toronto and recognizes its responsibility to provide attendees with a safe and secure environment. We believe these health and safety protocols are the key to allowing our communities and businesses to reopen safely, to permit full capacity events, and to protect against further lockdowns.

Details and dates on the implementation of these new health and safety protocols will be provided in the coming weeks. We thank all employees, partners and fans for their continued cooperation and efforts to protect our city and each other throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Language on how proof of vaccination and negative tests would be verified seems vague, and some are seeking clarification on just how stringent these measures will be.

Completely absent from the news release is any mention of a mask policy.

It is unknown whether this is an innocent omission, a deliberate choice, or a way of future-proofing the policy for a possible stage where mask use is no longer recommended by public health officials.

Many fans are excited to see a policy in place, hoping it is the prelude to the expected announcement that the Toronto Raptors will return to Scotiabank Arena to play home games this coming season.

Lead photo by

Scotiabank Arena

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