Premier Doug Ford says 550 fully vaccinated frontline health-care workers, including hospital and long-term care staff, will be invited to attend Game 7 of the playoff series between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens at Scotiabank Arena on Monday night.
In a statement, Ford said “officials are confident they can put these special fans in the stands safely and with minimal risk.”
Ford said the decision came following discussions with the chief medical officer of health and Toronto Public Health. Screening, masking, physical distancing and enhanced cleaning will be in place for the game.
“Every single day our health care workers put their lives on the line to help others. This small token of appreciation doesn’t measure up to the sacrifices they’ve made during COVID-19, but it is an opportunity for us to recognize their heroic efforts to keep each and every one of us safe,” Ford said.
The premier said Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment will be covering the cost and giving jerseys to each of the 550 health-care workers. However, it is not clear how the health-care workers will get their tickets.
This update came after the province said Sunday spectators wouldn’t be allowed to attend games in-person.
A petition began circulating on Sunday, calling on the government to allow 2,500 fully vaccinated health-care and essential workers to attend Game 7.
Around 2,500 fans were in attendance for Game 6 at the Bell Centre in Montreal on Saturday night. It was the first time since March 2020 that a Canadian NHL team welcomed fans into their arena.
Under Ontario’s current Roadmap to Reopen, the reopening of indoor sports and/or recreational facilities would not be possible until 70 to 80 per cent of adults have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 25 per cent have been fully vaccinated.
According to the latest vaccination figures, just over 53 per cent of Ontarians have received their first dose of the vaccine.