Sports Jurassic Park reopens for Toronto Raptors playoff game against Philadelphia 76ers
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The Toronto Raptors reopened Jurassic Park outside Scotiabank Arena for fans on Saturday after COVID-19 restrictions kept the courtyard closed for two years.
Thousands of fans poured into the the large courtyard on the arena's west side to watch the Game 1 of the first-round playoff series between the Raptors and Philadelphia 76ers. The game itself is being held in Philadelphia.
Vera Perez said she's happy to be able to watch the Raptors play once again in a public setting, but said she will still keep her mask on.
"I'm still 50-50, so that's why I'm still protecting myself … I am not 100 per cent," she told CBC News.
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"I am vaccinated though … but hopefully this will go away, go away, you know. We have an elderly and we have young kids, so it's better to be protected."
Jessie Cabacos also had a mask on, but said he's thinking less about COVID-19 — especially with the vaccines available.
He said he is more concerned about a Raptors win.
"It's amazing. It feels great to be here. The energy is going to be amazing," Cabacos said.
'We've been waiting 3 years almost for this'
Velda Foster, who is attending the game with her son, Matthew Da Silva, said she is happy the pandemic restrictions are finally easing.
"We've been waiting three years almost for this. We were here the last time, so this is a homecoming," Foster said.
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The Toronto Raptors have exceeded any and all expectations this season, from Vegas’ over/under line of 35.5 wins to Masai Ujiri’s comments about not being a “team of now” and “growing pains” to come. With 47 wins and counting, the Raptors are guaranteed to finish at least 10 games above .500 and make the playoffs for the eighth time in nine seasons, with the only exception coming in 2020-21 during their displaced season in Tampa Bay. While theWhile the expectations were tame, the path to regular-season success was always there for the Raptors.
When asked if she was thinking about COVID-19 she said "no, not now. I think we're good."
"It's outside, especially here in Jurassic Park, so just looking forward to seeing friendly faces and people that were here with us last time.
Da Silva expressed similar sentiments. "I feel safe. It's good to be back, though, and to see everybody. It's nice again," he said.
"But I do have a mask with me, so if I need to I can put it on. But I think we're fine out here."
In previous playoff runs, Jurassic Park became a ubiquitous gathering for fans and gained widespread attention during Toronto's run to an NBA championship in 2019.
Toronto Mayor John Tory, who is in COVID-19 quarantine at home, earlier proclaimed Saturday Toronto Raptors Day.
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