Nova Scotia

'It will look a lot different': Some N.S. venues prepare for return of fans

Four Nova Scotia venues are approved to open up their facilities to spectators.

'We’ll have a total of 1,778 in the building that would normally seat around 5,000'

Four venues in Nova Scotia, including Centre 200 in Sydney, are gearing up to open their facilities to spectators. (Mike Sullivan)

COVID-19 has dealt some tough blows to businesses in Nova Scotia, including sports and entertainment venues.

But four venues — Scotiabank Centre in Halifax, Centre 200 in Sydney, Scotia Speedworld near Halifax Stanfield International Airport and Riverside International Speedway in James River — have been given provincial approval to open up their doors to spectators.

Scotiabank Centre and Centre 200 can have groups of 200 at their facilities. But there are restrictions.

Paul MacDonald, the general manager at Centre 200, said opening up the facility to visitors will look 'a lot different' this year. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

"It will look a lot different this year than it did last year at this time," said Centre 200 general manager Paul MacDonald. "We'll have a total of 1,778 in the building that would normally seat around 5,000."

The Cape Breton Eagles play their home games in the building. The QMJHL schedule starts Oct.1.

MacDonald said fans should expect a much different experience.

Every fan must wear a mask and enter and exit the building through designated areas.

Each zone of 200 will have its own washroom. Those washrooms will be cleaned at the end of the first period intermission and second period intermission.

Food and beverage service will be through an in-house app. MacDonald said the same app worked well at last year's Scotties Tournament of Hearts women's curling event at Centre 200.

"It has both our hot and cold menu, you select your items and it's paid through a credit card," said MacDonald. "Then a staff member, wearing proper PPE will deliver it to your seat."

The Scotiabank Centre in Halifax, pictured here, and Centre 200 in Sydney can have groups of 200 in their facilities under COVID-19 restrictions. (CBC)

MacDonald said it will take more staff to keep close tabs on fans and to make sure they remain in their respective zone.

He said there there won't be much fan movement if all goes according to plan.

Scotiabank Centre denied an interview request as they are still working out some details.

The two race tracks can have groups of 250.

Scotia Speedworld had its first event with fans in the stands on Friday night. Another race night is planned for this Friday.