Halifax Mooseheads advance home game to avoid new COVID-19 gathering restrictions

Final Game of the 2019 Memorial Cup Presented by Kia between Rouyn-Noranda Huskies and Halifax Mooseheads (Photo by Vincent Ethier/LHJMQ/CHL)

HALIFAX -- The Halifax Mooseheads say they are sticking to their plan to advance one of their home games to avoid a new cap on gathering limits imposed by the province to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Team spokesman Scott MacIntosh says the home game scheduled for Friday at the Scotiabank Centre will instead be played on Thursday, adding that the hockey club is complying with public health orders.

Premier Tim Houston said Tuesday he was displeased with the decision of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League team.

Houston says he gave advance notice about Friday's new gathering limits to allow people to prepare not to ``get in front of the changes.''

The premier says public health is monitoring a recent COVID-19 outbreak linked to St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, N.S., and that it would advance the gathering limit order if it needs to.

Starting Friday, organized gatherings such as sports and cultural events will be capped at 50 per cent capacity to a maximum of 150 people indoors. Private indoor gatherings will be limited to 20 people.

Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health, has said large venues such as the Mooseheads' home arena will be allowed to host multiple groups of 150 people under the new measures coming Friday.

He says the Mooseheads previously operated under those same restrictions during an earlier wave of the pandemic.

``They already have approved plans and they can go back to those plans,'' Strang said Monday.

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