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People in Ontario are asking why large-scale events carry on amid more restrictions

As COVID-19 case numbers in Ontario continue to hover close to the 10,000 per day mark, citizens are fearing which new restrictions may be on the way for the province, many of us now having either known someone who's had the virus lately or had it ourselves.

The latest measures — along with a 50 per cent capacity cut in all public indoor settings, a 10 p.m. last call and 11 p.m. closing time for bars and restaurants, and other rules we thought we were finally done with for good — include some major changes for anyone living or working in a long-term care home.

As of Dec. 30, residents in these settings will no longer be able to receive visits from loved ones, nor will they be able to leave for day activities — a huge blow to a population that has already been severely locked down for the majority of pandemic.

And, as many Ontarians are now noting, these measures are being carried out while events like sports games with thousands of attendees are still taking place.

In the wake of the announcement of the new LTC restrictions, many took to social media to point out the fact that the Toronto Raptors played the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday night at Scotiabank Arena, which now has a capacity limit of 10,000 spectators, even under new orders.

Along with the argument that such events pose an affront to those in long-term care, people are also finding it hard to reconcile games continuing as is when the public has been advised to avoid gathering with friends and family over the holidays and cancel any non-essential travel plans for the foreseeable future.

Social get-togethers have been capped at 10 people indoors and 25 outdoors since Dec. 19, forcing people to cancel Christmas dinners and New Year's Eve parties.

Even without the new directives, many have found it prudent to cancel their forthcoming travel and gathering plans out of a sense of general social responsibility given the rampant spread of the Omicron variant in recent weeks.

And, in light of these personal sacrifices on a much smaller level, a 10,000-person sports game can seem pretty ridiculous.

As we face the prospect of additional measures in other spaces, too — such as potential the closure of schools and a return to online-only learning — many are calling for the implementation of more rigorous measures in large venues.

But, though Scotiabank Arena does not have to fear its end if new restrictions come into play, other venues, such as concert halls, very well may after forced closure for the majority of the last 21 months.

The public will have to wait and see how the holidays impact COVID figures, as well as if any further measures are indeed on the way this week.

Lead photo by

Christian Mendoza

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