Several Saeima members have decided not to allow the hockey championship to take place in an empty arena. They have made amendments to allow fans to watch games in person – in a semi-filled hall, observing safe distance, and a seat would only be given to those vaccinated, overcome Covid-19 or able to show a negative test result from no more than 48 hours prior.
The amendments will be decided by the Saeima on Thursday.
“Latvia has the best hockey fans in the world. We must benefit the vaccinated people and also allow fans from other countries to travel,” said Gatis Eglītis (New Conservative Party).
In the past, the New Conservative Party urged the government to decide whether to allow spectators, but the Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš (New Unity) did not raise the issue. Therefore, the Saeima will now decide on it.
The dispute over the ice-field may break the already fragile coalition ice, because issues that cannot be decided by the government are decided by the Saeima with the support of the opposition. It also happened with the opening of café terraces.
“We look at where reasonable decisions are made. This is an event every 10 years, and hockey is the number one in Latvia,” said Deputy Gatis Eglītis (JKP).
“The hockey hall is a living organism and there's a lot of specifics that officials don't want to take into account, and it's simpler to say no. There is only growing discontent with the government,“ said Māris Možvillo, head of the Saeima faction of KPV LV.
Medics object to the handling of games with viewers, indicating that there is still too much risk of being infected with Covid-19.
“There may be a situation where the test result changes even within 2-3 hours,” noted the Head of the Department of Public Health and Epidemiology, of Rīga Stradiņš University Professor Ģirts Briģis.
Hockey has united the positions and opposition of parts in the Saeima, and it is likely that there will be enough votes in the Saeima to allow viewers to watch games in person, reports LTV.