The Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators will continue to play in front of a near-empty arena for a little while longer.
The Ontario Government announced the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions on Thursday.
Beginning Jan. 31, sporting events are permitted to have 500 spectators in attendance or 50 percent capacity, whichever is fewer.
Beginning Feb. 21, sporting event venues with a capacity of over 1,000 can increase spectators to 50 percent.
Full capacity at sporting events won't be restored until Mar. 14.
For the Maple Leafs and Senators, that means they will be playing in half or near-empty arenas for the next two months.
The Senators have 15 home games between now and Mar. 14, while the Maple Leafs have 10. The NHL will likely take a major hit in hockey-related revenue for those additional games without paying spectators at maximum capacity.
The Maple Leafs played their first two games of 2022 at home in front of no fans. They are currently in the midst of a six-game road trip that ends on Saturday when they visit the New York Islanders.
The Senators just wrapped up a three-game road trip and play five of their next six games at home at Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa.
On Wednesday, the NHL rescheduled over 100 games that were postponed due to a COVID-19 outbreak that forced the season to pause. Most of them were rescheduled for February during a pause in the schedule that was originally scheduled for NHL participation at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
The NHL and NHLPA announced in December that NHL players were not going to the Olympics, citing 'material' changes their schedule.