Montreal

Quebec lifts capacity limits on venues with assigned seating, including for NHL games

Quebec health authorities are lifting capacity restrictions on venues with assigned seating starting Oct. 8 but say it's too soon to permit larger indoor private gatherings.

Proof of vaccination and mask-wearing will still be required, health minister says

Now even more people can cram into Montreal's Bell Centre under Quebec's new public health rules. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

Quebec health authorities are lifting capacity restrictions on venues with assigned seating starting Oct. 8 but say it's too soon to permit larger indoor private gatherings.

Health Minister Christian Dubé made the announcement Thursday, saying anyone attending events at those venues will need to show proof of vaccination and wear a mask.

The new rules apply to cinemas, theatres, conferences and graduation ceremonies, and they will also permit Montreal's Bell Centre to be at full capacity for the Canadiens' first NHL home game in October.

Dubé says Quebec has done well during the month of September, but it remains too early to declare victory in the fight against COVID-19 or to lift the 10-person indoor gathering limit inside private homes.

Earlier in the day, Quebec reported 655 new cases of COVID-19 and two more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus.

Quebec public health says the number of hospitalizations rose by five, to 311, and 91 people were in intensive care, unchanged from the day before.

The province's Ministry of Security says police forces across the province have issued 34 tickets related to the province's vaccine passport system.

Proof of vaccination has been required for a range of non-essential businesses and services in the province since Sept. 1, but fines ranging from $1,000 to $6,000 were not issued during an initial two-week grace period.

Ministry of Security spokesperson Marie-Josée Montminy says 31 tickets were issued between Sept. 20 and Sept. 26, adding that police conducted 1,726 inspections related to the health order.

Quebec's public health institute says 89.4 per cent of residents 12 and over have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 85.4 per cent are considered adequately vaccinated.

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