The Montreal Canadiens Will Have No Fans In The Bell Centre Tonight As COVID-19 Cases Rise

Omicron 1, Habs Fans 0

Staff Writer
The Montreal Canadiens Will Have No Fans In The Bell Centre Tonight As COVID-19 Cases Rise

It's déja vu. The Montreal Canadiens announced that following a public health request, they will have no fans in the Bell Centre for their Thursday, December 16 game against the Philadelphia Flyers.

"Faced with the spiralling rise of COVID-19 cases in the region, late this afternoon the Montreal Canadiens organization received a request from Quebec public health officials to host tonight's game against the Philadelphia Flyers in a closed setting with no fans in attendance at the Bell Centre," the team said in a press release.

The announcement was made only two hours before the game against the Flyers was scheduled to begin. The team says it will directly contact fans with tickets.

"We have accepted this request in order to help ensure the safety and security of our fans and fellow citizens throughout our community," the team's statement continued. "An update on the status of Saturday's scheduled game against the Boston Bruins will be provided tomorrow."

The team confirmed that it'll be able to host fans in a "partial capacity scenario" in January after obtaining assurance from provincial health officials.

More details will be released in the coming days.

"In the interim, we would continue to encourage everyone to get vaccinated, get their booster shots when possible, and be responsible with their social and family gatherings throughout the holidays," the team added.

"We hope that with rigour and a collective effort from all of us, we will be able to come together in a near future in 2022."

Quebec Bill 21 Won't Apply To Parents Who Volunteer In Schools & Wear Religious Symbols

Parents who supervise classes due to COVID-related staff shortages can wear hijabs, kippahs, crosses and turbans.

As a contingency plan to deal with a high number of staff shortages expected at schools in the coming weeks, Quebec's Ministry of Education has said parent volunteers might be asked to supervise classes if too many teachers get sick with COVID-19 and need to isolate. But, unlike teachers who are subject to Bill 21, volunteer parents can wear religious symbols in the classroom.

Quebec's controversial Bill 21, also known as Quebec's secularism law, prohibits public service workers — from police officers to teachers — from hijabs, kippahs, crosses, turbans and other forms of religious symbols while at work. In fact, an elementary school teacher in Chelsea was removed from her position last month for wearing a hijab.

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On December 30, 2021, François Legault announced a handful of restrictions across Quebec, which included the closure of indoor dining and places of worship, and the postponement of a return to in-person learning at schools in the new year. In a January 13 Facebook post, Legault confirmed elementary and high school students would be returning to class as of Monday, January 17. But what about university students?

Montreal CEGEPs and universities also reverted to remote learning, however, things are looking a little different for students returning to in-person classes at post-secondary institutions. Premier Legault stated in a January 12 post that while universities could reopen their doors as of the 17th, they are being given extra leeway to determine the exact date in which in-person classes could resume.

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Quebec Parents Might Be Asked To Volunteer In Classrooms If Too Many Teachers Get COVID-19

With schools reopening on Monday, the Ministry of Education says it's expecting "a very large number" of staff absences.

Earlier this week, the provincial government confirmed that Quebec schools would officially reopen on Monday. Expecting that "a very large number of employees" will get COVID-19 and have to isolate in the coming weeks, Quebec's Ministry of Education sent a backup plan to the province's educators — and it includes calling on parent volunteers to watch classrooms.

The Ministry's "contingency plan" document states that "given the current pandemic environment [and] the widespread contagion of the Omicron variant [...] the goal is to keep students at school safely, despite the high rate of anticipated absenteeism among school staff."

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Have you been having a hard time trying to procure a rapid test in Quebec? You're not alone! Luckily it seems as if there is a glimmer of hope as the distribution of rapid tests is set to pick up province-wide.

Now, as PCR tests are reserved for priority groups, at home rapid tests have become the norm and Santé Québec is clarifying exactly when to use the testing kit for a more accurate diagnosis.

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