The Toronto Raptors will soon be allowed to start bringing fans into Scotiabank Arena.
The Ontario government has announced an easing of COVID-19 restrictions that will permit sports venues to return to 50% capacity starting Feb. 21, Premier Doug Ford announced Thursday.
The Raptors have been playing home without fans in attendance since Dec. 31 when Serge Ibaka and the Los Angeles Clippers came to Toronto. Prior to that, a 50% restriction had been in place for two games following the government's tightening of COVID regulations.
Proof of vaccine will continue to be required to be admitted into the arena, the government said.
Ontario will permit sports venues to play at 50% capacity or 500 people, whichever is fewer, starting on Jan. 31. Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment had previously decided to close the arena to fans when attendance was restricted to 1,000 people.
Unfortunately, this will likely mean Kyle Lowry's return to Toronto on Feb. 1 will take place without fans. He will, however, return on April 3 when the Raptors could be at full capacity again.
If things go well, the government has set March 14 as a date for a potential full re-opening of sports venues, allowing the Raptors to play their final nine regular season games in a packed arena.