Carrot River community centre rink reopening with masks

CARROT RIVER — The Carrot River community centre rink is reopening— with restrictions.

The rink had been officially opened mid-September, but guidelines were passed on its usage by Carrot River council on Oct. 21 in preparation of the coming hockey season.

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These rules include mask usage, concession and security presence.

“We are putting all the rules in place so we can protect our staff and the general public who choose to attend these games, as well as the athletes who participate,” said Kevin Trew, Carrot River’s administrator.

Masks will be required by all spectators at the arena.

“We have to insist people wear masks in the community centre— not on the ice surface, but in the stands and common areas,” Trew said.

“These guidelines all fall in line with the Saskatchewan Minor Hockey Association and Saskatchewan Health Authority rules and regulations, and as well as any of our users’ concerns were taken into consideration as well.”

Spectators are asked to not crowd around the lobby.

For physical distancing and crowd control, Trew said security will be present at the lobby doors.

“The lobby is a bit of a cluster point for us, so we have to monitor the numbers of people there, limit visiting in the lobby,” Trew said.

“The lobby has to have maximum numbers of people. So people come to the games, they come in through the lobby then they get out and sit out in their seats out in the ice level, and we’ll have things marked up there to allow for physical distancing to occur.”

With physical distancing, the town is planning for 150 people at maximum in the facility.

Trew said they will be offering a modified concession at this time during Outback Thunder games.

These modifications involve the removal of fried foods and beverages.

“We’re going to have one staff member serving these things, so it’s going to be one of those things where it’s going to require peoples’ patience. As far as food we will sell prepackaged food like chips and chocolate bars, and things like that.”

Cold beverages can still be purchased at the vending machine. Trew said the town is currently looking at the possibility supplying the rink with a hot beverage machine in the future.

“These are temporary changes. As we’re able we will be modifying our menu as we are able, and as time allows. As for now, the deep fryer will not be running at this point,” he said.

“We encourage people to use the concession, but everybody who is going to use the concession or access the lobby has to respect each other and understand they have to get in and get out.”

According to Trew, both the skating rink and community hall caused an economic loss for the town through the pandemic.

“Council felt that there has definitely been an affect and a loss of revenue on our community facilities where there are still expenses, although we tried to minimize the expenses as much as possible while they were closed or having reduced usage.”

Some of the efforts undertaken to minimize expenses included disconnection of utilities, lowering heat usage, and ending a janitorial contract.

“It wasn’t great savings, but it was some savings.”

Trew said in response, the town is investing part of their funds from the federal government’s Safe Restart Program into the two facilities.

As part of the Safe Restart Program, the Government of Canada invested 19.8 billion dollars to provinces and territories throughout Canada to safely restart programs and services. The Province of Saskatchewan committed about 62 million dollars from that to municipal support.

The Town of Carrot River has received $58,043 from the program.

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