As vaccinations ramp up past a pace of 3 million a day in the U.S, the NHL is in a tougher spot than the other three major North American professional sports leagues because seven of its 31 teams are based in Canada, the Associated Press reports. While the NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball are relaxing virus protocols when a certain percentage of each team is fully vaccinated, the top hockey league in the world is facing a severe outbreak with the Vancouver Canucks and grappling with vaccine inequity on opposite sides of the border. Canada has lagged in vaccinations because, like many other countries, it lacks the ability to manufacture vaccines and has had to rely on the global supply chain. As of Thursday, over a third of the U.S. general population had received at least one dose and 19.9% was fully vaccinated, compared to 16.5% with one shot and 1.98% fully vaccinated in Canada.
After a year of pandemic-imposed closures and lost revenue for live performance and arts spaces, a new relief grant program designed to help arts venues opened for applications Thursday. The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant, offered through the U.S. Small Business Administration, is intended to assist live-event venues, many of which lost nearly all revenue in 2020 while still paying overhead costs like rent. The $16 billion grant program is part of the $900 billion in COVID-19 relief legislation passed by Congress in December. But problems have already cropped up: The SVOG system malfunctioned on Thursday and no applications got through, The New York Times reported, and operators expressed concern that demand for SVOG grants was so high that the program’s funding might run out.