CENTRE WELLINGTON – The township intends to open its ice rinks for hockey and figure skating beginning in September.
But it will be a very different experience for participants and their fans.
And because of limited capacity, it will be a money-losing venture for the township, at least initially.
Pat Newson, Centre Wellington’s managing director of community services, told council on Aug. 24 that staff has been in discussion with community groups and has devised a phased approach to opening ice rinks that ensures the safety of staff, skaters and their families.
Her report outlines physical distancing measures, mask wearing for everyone until they are on the ice, pre-screening of ice users, and enhanced cleaning of touchpoints as ways the township will mitigate risk of COVID-19.
User groups also have a responsibility to submit a return to play plan that is approved by township staff.
The municipality intends to start making ice at the Elora Community Centre, and for one of the ice pads at the Centre Wellington Community Sportsplex in Fergus, around Sept. 1 and they should be ready for use by Sept. 14.
During Phase 1, hours of operation at both facilities will be Monday to Friday from 4 to 11pm; and Saturday and Sunday from 7am to 10pm.
Ice will be available for CW Minor Hockey, Grand River Girls Hockey, Elora Fergus Ringette, the Fergus Skating Club and the Elora Skating Club.
There will be no private rentals, no tournaments or special events, and no public skating sessions.
Each user group will be guided by the township, public health and protocols outlined by their own regulatory associations.
Phase 2 would see the second ice pad in Fergus open and private rentals and adult skating for contracted groups begin.
The report outlines a gradual reopening through five phases until arena functions return to pre-COVID rules.
No dates have been set for phases two through five.
Between increased labour costs and reduced rentals, Newson calculated that the township will lose about $7,905 per week in Phase 1.