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People in Ontario call for further reopening after 550 fans attend Leafs-Habs Game 7

Aside from the obvious devastation about the Toronto Maple Leafs losing to the Habs on Monday night (are we really surprised, though?), residents of Ontario have found another reason to be angry about Game 7 of the first round of the NHL playoffs.

Though it was thrilling news that the province made the same-day decision to allow 550 fans — fully vaccinated healthcare workers, mind you — to attend the game at Toronto's Scotiabank Arena, the move has caused a stir among those who have long been advocating for the plight of small businesses that have faced months of forced closure.

Many feel that it's great that Doug Ford and his team permitted select attendees at the game as Quebec did for Game 6 in Montreal, but that Ontario should probably be following our neighbouring province's lead for opening up some other things, too.

In regions such as Toronto, many business operations have been shuttered since November, and some, since even earlier.

With the ability to do things like get a haircut, dine indoors, or have an outdoor barbecue with a group still many weeks away for Ontarians, people have questions about Ford's priorities and inconsistent (and much-contested) approach to pandemic lockdown, as happy as they are for the frontline workers who attended the game.

There was definitely logic in the selection of the individuals that got to go to the game in-person, but many are arguing that there is also logic in opening up certain businesses and spaces with rigid restrictions in place, too, especially with vaccination rates in the province now ramping up.

As of last week, the province hit the milestone of administering at least a first dose to 65 per cent of the population — notably surpassing its own guidelines for entering Step 1 of reopening the economy, which we still haven't done despite meeting the criteria.

When the province does finally enter Step 1 on June 14, outdoor dining will finally return with stringent limitations in place, non-essential retail will get to reopen to 15 per cent capacity, outdoor pools and splashpads will reopen, and more, at long last.

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