scotiabank arena mask policy

Unmasked fans are getting kicked out of Toronto Raptors games and it's about time

Mask mandates have proven particularly difficult to enforce, with many businesses in Toronto either unable or unwilling to crack down on those who fail to adhere to the basic social courtesy of wearing a face covering.

But one high-profile venue is getting serious about mask use, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) unveiling its new 'Operation Mask Up (or out)' campaign in December. The move is strictly enforcing all attendees to "adhere to all mask-wearing protocols or risk ejection from the building."

And it's clear from the last two Raptors home games that MLSE means business.

The policy went into effect on Saturday, Dec. 18 for the Raptors' game hosting the Golden State Warriors, and MLSE wasted no time making examples of 14 attendees who were escorted out of Scotiabank Arena by special mask compliance officers.

An additional 25 were cautioned by MLSE staff that evening with "yellow card" warnings that run the risk of an ejection if a second infraction occurs.

The policy can be interpreted as a last line of defence for MLSE, the organization currently facing frequent game postponements and the threat of another league-wide suspension of play.

Newly slashed limits already have Scotiabank Arena's capacity limited to 10,000 (though fewer than 7K attended Sunday's game) while the venue has closed its concession stands, as fans must keep their noses, mouths, and chins covered at all times while inside the facility.

But it seems that some fans didn't get the memo during the COVID-sidelined Raptors' disastrous outing versus the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, where the number of ousted fans increased from the previous game.

According to the Toronto Star, another 17 fans got the boot from Sunday's game for failing to mask up, something that many wish would happen in other venues and businesses where enforcement isn't as strict.

One person pointed out how enforcement at Raptors games compares against Canada's House of Commons.

With MLSE making a push to crack down on masks, the topic of Raptors President Masai Ujiri's recent unmasked superspreader event was unavoidable.

And just like all other moves geared toward protecting the public from the risk of rising case counts and more dreaded lockdowns, the conspiracy nuts and alt-righters are making all of their usual arguments.

This thread includes some classic anti-vax propaganda, and even a cringeworthy comparison to fascism.

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