No fans for Scotties finals due to COVID-19 concerns: Curling Canada

Northern Ontario skip Krista McCarville directs her team as they play the Wild Card 2 team at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts at Fort William Gardens in Thunder Bay, Ont. on Friday, Jan. 28, 2022. (Andrew Vaughan/CP)

THUNDER BAY, Ont. — Curling Canada says there will be no fans in the building for the final weekend of the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

The 18-rink competition to crown the Canadian women's curling champion is being held at the Fort Williams Gardens in Thunder Bay, Ont.

The tournament kicked off Friday without fans or media in attendance due to provincial health restrictions around COVID-19.

Ontario previously announced 500 spectators could be allowed in the arena as of Jan. 31, but Curling Canada issued a statement Saturday saying it has decided not to open the venue "after careful thought and consideration."

The association says it looked into offering a modified ticket plan for the final three days of the event, which ends Feb. 6, but felt it "could not confidently provide an environment that would be safe for everyone involved" due to the latest surge of COVID-19.

Kerri Einarson from Gimli, Man., is seeking her third straight Scotties title at this year's event.

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