I have no health or healthcare background, so admittedly I'm out of my league here. But, the still-existing COVID-19 restrictions for mass gatherings in Canada make no sense!

The Montreal Canadiens, one of two teams in the NHL Stanley Cup Finals, recently requested Quebec public health officials lift the capacity limit in place for sporting events. The request was to allow up to 50% capacity, which would have permitted some 10,500 into the Bell Centre. But, health officials declined that request. So, only 3,500 fans were allowed to attend Games 3 and 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals in Montreal. But, several outdoor viewing parties were allowed - where thousands upon thousands of Canadians gathered in public areas to watch the game on a large screen, standing shoulder-to-shoulder, chanting, screaming and celebrating while practically stacked on top of one another.

Does that make any sense?

I understand the virus spreads more-easily indoors than it does outside, but when you have thousands of people crammed next to each other, is it really any different? The typical 'outdoor gathering' I think of is a cookout, with maybe 20 people in a backyard. They're not in constant contact with others, completely surrounded by strangers who may or may not be vaccinated.

How is that 'safer' that allowing full capacity, or even half capacity, in an arena where only vaccinated Canadians are allowed to enter? It makes no sense.


How does it makes any sense to limit crowds at the Bell Center where a vaccine and/or mask is required, versus an outside public square where thousands and thousands are jammed-in like sardines.

Take a look at these photos from fans inside the Bell Centre, and those who were parting at outdoor gatherings setup to allow fans to watch the game, via Getty Images (photo above).

Now, this photo was taken when the Habs (the hockey team's other nickname) secured a victory that sent them to the Stanley Cup (photo below). It's a mob scene, with thousands of people everywhere. If you watched any of the finals games this weekend, you'd have seen similar scenes repeated in multiple locations. Not all of these people are vaccinated, but you see virtually no masks, no distancing.

screen capture via SPORTSNET on youtube showing Montreal Canadiens fans gathered outside the Bell Centre to celebrate a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals
screen capture via SPORTSNET on youtube showing Montreal Canadiens fans gathered outside the Bell Centre to celebrate a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals

But, somehow that is safer than putting fully vaccinated people in a sports arena where masks and distancing are required?

While I'm not saying New York health experts and Governor Cuomo made all the right decisions when it comes to the virus, they've certainly let the sun set on many outdated, non-sensical COVID-rules that defy logic.

Canadian leaders should get with the times and examine the obvious holes in their safely protocols.

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