NHL teams are allowed to dine indoors under Ontario's new reopening rules
Despite current stay-at-home orders, the Ontario government announced on Monday that NHL players in the all-Canadian North Division will be able to eat indoors at certain restaurants, as well as go to specified bars and gyms.
According to a government document, under Ontario's grey zone, these locations will still be closed to the public, but exceptions have been made for the hockey players as it will be part of their "bubble structure".
The move was defended by Dr. David Williams, Ontario's chief medical officer of health, during a press conference on Monday.
"The rules of the NHL are very much strict with their protocols, with their frequent testing, their isolation of their players to the extent, and especially very tight transport within Canada," Williams said.
"They do not leave the country, so they're staying in this country the whole time. There are some players, of course, this is not their home, and [they] require some place to have some eating and food facilities.
"The NHL has procured that in a tight level of restriction and control. So that's all part of their bubble, if you may use that term, which they have strictly laid out in their protocol. And so far, as far as I'm concerned, they've been adhering to it."
I've been home since fricking march. Travelled nowhere and boy would i love to eat somewhere other than my house. Must be nice to be an entitled hockey player. Get real— Julia Smith (@juliasaquilter) February 9, 2021
But the decision has caused some backlash, with people commenting on social media how it's a "double-standard" and "unfair".
"This is just wrong. I thought we were all in this together? Why are some granted privileges the rest of us don't get?" wrote user dieter_kreps on Twitter.
But I can’t be with my wife during an appointment for our baby at the hospital. I’ve been waiting in my car for four hours now and was told I couldn’t come in. My god 🤦🏼♂️— Joshua (@Joshuak88) February 9, 2021
But whatever, let’s let the rich hockey players enjoy indoor dining and gatherings 🙃 @fordnation
Prior to the Ontario government's decision, travelling players and coaches in Canada were only allowed to be at the hotel, sporting arena or the airport.
The league will submit a full list of businesses that they wish to use, which will need to be approved by the Chief Medical Officer, and all businesses listed will need to comply with certain conditions.
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