NHL

Montreal to host outdoor viewings of Canadiens games as request to increase Bell Centre fan capacity denied

Montreal has announced it will set up outdoor viewing parties to allow fans to watch the Canadiens play in the Stanley Cup final, a day after Quebec public health denied a request to allow more fans into the Bell Centre.

Free viewings to take place in city's entertainment district beginning Friday

The Quebec government said in a statement Thursday it will maintain the current number of 3,500 people allowed in Montreal's Bell Centre in order to limit the spread of COVID-19. (The Canadian Press/Peter McCabe)

Montreal has announced it will set up outdoor viewing parties to allow fans to watch the Canadiens play in the Stanley Cup final, a day after Quebec public health denied a request to allow more fans into the Bell Centre.

The city said the free viewings will take place in the city's entertainment district, the Quartier des Spectacles, beginning Friday with the Canadiens' first home game in the Stanley Cup final series against the Tampa Bay Lightning. 

The announcement comes as the Quebec government confirmed it had refused a request by the Canadiens organization to allow about 10,500 fans into the team's home arena, which would have represented half its capacity. 

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The province said in a statement Thursday morning that it decided to maintain the current limit of 3,500 people in order to limit the spread of COVID-19. 

But the health department says it will increase the number of people allowed to gather at outdoor festivals and events up to 5,000 beginning Friday.

The province says people who are seated must be kept 1.5 metres from those who don't live with them, and masks are recommended when people are moving.

Hockey fans in Quebec City will be able to watch the games projected inside the Videotron Centre starting Friday, at a cost of $11 each. The rules will be the same there, too: A limit of 3,500 spectators per match will be permitted.

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