WEATHER ALERT

Jubilant Jets fans must stay onside

It was an injection of joy for a beleaguered community that has infamously become North America’s COVID-19 hot spot and seen its hospitals buckle under the weight of the pandemic’s third wave.

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Opinion

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 28/05/2021 (612 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

It was an injection of joy for a beleaguered community that has infamously become North America’s COVID-19 hot spot and seen its hospitals buckle under the weight of the pandemic’s third wave.

Winnipeg Jets fans couldn’t contain their excitement this week when the home side swept the Edmonton Oilers in Round 1 of the NHL playoffs — but it’s essential fans remember to play by the rules to ensure a surge in the playoffs doesn’t lead to a surge in intensive-care units that are already overwhelmed.

Although people who don’t enjoy hockey may find it silly to place importance on watching young millionaires chase a disc of vulcanized rubber around a rink, Jets fans are savouring a small ray of sunshine during a time that feels cloaked in pandemic darkness.

Like the whiteout street parties in previous seasons, it warmed the heart to see impromptu parades of vehicles outside Bell MTS Place after playoff victories this year, with fans honking vehicle horns to the rythym of the chant “Go Jets go!”and proudly waving brooms to symbolize the thrill of sweeping the Oilers, a team that has crushed the spirits of Jets fans time and time again.

But it must break the hearts of public health officials to see — as TV news footage has repeatedly shown — that many of these vehicles were jammed with young fans who were clearly not from the same households, and had most likely just come from shared game-watching spaces.

It leaves a troubling impression that Manitoba’s current public-health orders — banning gatherings with anyone from outside the same household — do not have the same dedicated fan base as our local hockey heroes.

No one wants to rain on these parades, but as the Jets try to drive deeper into the NHL playoffs, it becomes increasingly important for fans in a city riding the pandemic’s third wave to avoid going offside on safety protocols designed to save lives.

No one wants to rain on these parades, but as the Jets try to drive deeper into the NHL playoffs, it becomes increasingly important for fans in a city riding the pandemic’s third wave to avoid going offside on safety protocols designed to save lives.

Local hockey fans have to do exactly what the Jets are required to do — play by the rules, especially rules intended to prevent the spread of a virus that has already claimed the loves of more than 1,000 Manitobans.

Under current restrictions, fans can’t watch the playoffs inside the arena, can’t invite friends over to enjoy a cold brew and cheer for the Jets on their home TV screens, and can’t gather in groups — or parade in vehicles with people from outside their household— to display their pride in the home side.

It’s not unreasonable to suggest fans should not be watching the Jets take shots if they have not already taken one for the team. “Get vaccinated, because that really, probably, is the closest thing that we can get to getting normalcy back and getting people back in the building,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff advised this week.

As the Jets continue their hunt for the Stanley Cup, fans should remember the penalty for violating health rules could be far worse than just two minutes in the sin bin.

It’s a delicate balance — enthusiasm shouldn’t trump common sense, so cheer like there’s no tomorrow, but do it safely because that’s the only way to ensure there is a tomorrow for everyone, regardless of who they cheer for.

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