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Games are back on in Nova Scotia.
Premier Stephen McNeil announced on Friday sports competition will resume on Monday but without spectators and with limited travel for the teams involved. Games across the province at all levels have not been allowed since late November when there was a spike in COVID-19 cases.
At the time of the shutdown there were some fans allowed in the facilities but only the competitors, coaches and officials - up to a maximum of 50 people - will be permitted inside the venues until further notice. Teams were cleared to practice three weeks ago.
At this time, there will be no tournaments or provincial championships. Games will also be limited to competition between teams who ordinarily face each other.
There was no specific update provided about the QMJHL but the rules do make it possible for the Halifax Mooseheads and Cape Breton Eagles to play games against each other. It doesn't seem likely there will be games against any of the New Brunswick teams - Bathurst Titan, Moncton Wildcats and Saint John Sea Dogs - any time soon. And there has been some speculation the Charlottetown Islanders might be included in the rotation with the Mooseheads and Eagles because of the low case totals in Prince Edward Island.
But even though a handful of scenarios had been discussed by QMJHL officials in the weeks leading up to Friday, nothing has been decided yet because they got the news at the same time as everybody else.
"We've been in constant contact with public health officials throughout the process but we're still digesting today's news," said Mooseheads president Brian Urquhart. "We'll need time to figure out what it means for us. What we hope is we'll have a plan of action ready to announce some time next week.
"There are discussions going on right now and obviously it's pretty fluid because of the number of factors at play with the three provinces. And New Brunswick is in a different situation than Nova Scotia and P.E.I. so they're just trying to evaluate all that between the owners and the league. But I'm sure we'll know a lot more by the first of next week."
There were four new cases detected in Nova Scotia on Friday and the active total in the province is at 22. Most other public health restrictions will stay in place until at least Feb. 7
"We are still in the middle of a severe second wave of COVID-19 with other provinces and countries facing high case numbers, including our neighbours in New Brunswick," McNeil said in a news release. "That's why we are continuing our cautious approach in easing restrictions as we focus on protecting Nova Scotians from the virus."