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Ontario backtracks, allows special fans for the Leafs game tonight

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First it was no, no, no, then it was yes, okay.

NHL: MAR 10 Lightning at Maple Leafs Photo by Julian Avram/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Yesterday, the story was very different.

Ontario’s Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries confirmed Sunday that “no spectators are allowed to attend games in-person” — hours after Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown issued a call to allow 2,500 fully vaccinated health-care and essential workers to attend Monday’s big game.

“They have sacrificed so much during the pandemic and it would be great to recognize their heroic efforts,” Brown wrote in a letter addressed to outgoing chief medical officer of health Dr. David Williams.

Brown urged the province to follow the lead of Quebec Premier François Legault, who on Saturday allowed about 2,500 fans into Montreal’s Bell Centre to watch the Montreal Canadiens beat the Toronto Maple Leafs in overtime, forcing Game 7.

Quebec’s move was made after declining case counts saw public health officials loosen COVID-19 restrictions, allowing for about 12 per cent capacity in the Montreal arena.

Today the story has changed, with fully vaccinated frontline health care workers allowed into the game by invitation.

The storyline before Game 6 in Montréal was all about the massive prices paid by fans to get one of the limited number of tickets that were made available. This scheme avoids that scenario.