The decision to advance a Halifax Mooseheads hockey game one day to seemingly circumvent the new COVID-19 restrictions does not sit well with fans, or the prime minister’s office.
The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) team alerted ticket holders Tuesday that their Friday game against Acadie-Bathurst has been moved one day earlier to Thursday.
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According to a statement posted on its Facebook page, which has limited comment, the decision was due “to recent restrictions announced by the Nova Scotia government.”
The province has been registering new triple-digit virus cases for the past few days. On Tuesday, there were 127 new cases and a delay in contact tracing by public health.
On Monday, Nova Scotia announced that 40 cases that are part of the growing outbreak from the University of St. Francis Xavier were confirmed as the Omicron variant. Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer for health, said many more cases were expected to be the fast-spreading variant.
In response, the province said it was introducing new restrictions starting Friday. The new rules include the collection of limits and masking rules.
For a place like the Scotiabank Center, where the Mooseheads play, Friday’s restrictions will mean that spectators will be placed in groups of 150 people. There can be multiple groups, as long as each group has a separate entrance, exit and toilets.
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Within those groups of 150 people, masking and physical distancing will be maintained, unless the people are with their own home or a consistent group of 20.
Eating and drinking will no longer be allowed in the bleachers or seats, and can only occur in separate designated seating areas.
The rescheduling of the game drew criticism on Twitter, with some calling the move “irresponsible” and “disappointing.”
It appears that Prime Minister Tim Houston was also not impressed.
“The new restrictions regarding collection limits go into effect on Friday at 9:00 am. The time between announcement and implementation was to give businesses, organizations and individuals time to prepare, ”the prime minister’s office wrote in a statement.
“The purpose of the advance notice was not to give organizations the opportunity to reschedule events and stay ahead of changes.”
The statement went on to say that public health would continue to “closely monitor the situation” and that “if it is necessary to change the timing, it will.”
In their post, the Mooseheads said Wednesday’s home game against the Charlottetown Islanders is “a status quo and will go according to plan.”
“More information on the Mooseheads home game on December 31 will be announced in the coming days.”
Global News has reached out to the team for comment.
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