Earlier on Tuesday, Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk said he had submitted a plan to allow 6,000 fans in the Canadian Tire Centre once public health officials give the green light.
“I’ve submitted a robust public safety plan that will allowe 6,000 fans in the Canadian Tire Centre that includes health protocols ranging from proper physical distancing, rapid testing and mask-wearing at all times inside the arena,” Melnyk tweeted.
“We’re ready to put the plan into practice once public health officials give us the green light.”
And then, the Ontario government has declared a state of emergency — the second since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic — and is issuing a stay-at-home order. Premier Doug Ford said the state of emergency will be in effect for at least 28 days.
“The system is on the brink of collapse,” Ford said.
This surely puts a damper of what Melnyk had in mind for his team. The owner has since taken down his tweets and deleted them from his page.
Toronto Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan said Tuesday the Leafs, Ontario’s other team, currently have no plans to submit a similar plan.
“I can’t speak for the Ottawa Senators, but those aren’t the conversations we’re having at this time,” Shanahan said.
It sounds like Ford has spoken for everyone.
UPDATE: Melnyk has used his Twitter account to publish a clarification on his earlier statements:
"While the Senators organization remains optimistic that we will have an opportunity to eventually welcome fans back to Canadian Tire Centre — now is not the time. As an organization we will do our part to combat the spread of Covid-19 and adhere to the Ontario Government’s new measures. For the first time in my tenure as owner of the Sens, my family and I will not be attending opening night this Friday. Instead, I will be joining everyone else who will be watching and cheering the game from home. We are in this fight together. Stay home, stay safe and Go Sens Go!"
Here is his full statement: