It turns out the Toronto Maple Leafs will have some fans in the crowd tonight for their Game 7 matchup against the Montreal Canadiens, after all.
Yesterday, the province rejected a proposal for 2,500 fully vaccinated healthcare workers to attend but has since allowed 550 workers into the arena.
“This is well below the arena’s capacity,” Ontario Premier Doug Ford said in a statement. “With these healthcare workers having received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine at least two weeks ago, and with precautionary measures in place like screening, masking, distancing, enhanced cleaning and crowd control, public health officials are confident we can put these special fans in the stands safely and with minimal risk.”
“It also shows that the more of us who get vaccinated, the faster we can return to doing the things we miss,” Ford added.
“Our frontline heroes have helped us get through this pandemic and now they’ll be helping cheer on our Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 7 against the Montreal Canadiens,” Toronto Mayor John Tory added.
“I want to thank Premier Ford and Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment for working quickly to find a way to recognize our frontline workers and safely bring fans back.
“This is another step in our move towards a safe and cautious reopening in the coming weeks. It also shows the importance of having proper safety measures in place and getting fully vaccinated.”
It will be the first major sporting event with fans in Ontario since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. Puck drop is set for 7 pm ET on CBC, Sportsnet, and OMNI, with the winner of the game advancing through to the second round of the playoffs for a matchup against the Winnipeg Jets.