Recreation Centre gears up for season with safety precautions in place

“It’s the same place, but it’s not quite the same at this point in time.”

Staff at the Stettler Recreation Centre are excited to welcome folks back this season, and have released details on precautionary measures to help keep everyone safe and healthy.

“Welcome back to the Stettler Recreation Centre and specifically our two arenas! We are very excited to have you all back to enjoy on-ice activities and we look forward to your arrival,” notes the Centre’s Arena Re-opening User Rules and Guidelines which can be found on the facility’s web site.

”The guidelines and rules outlined below will help ensure you enjoy your on-ice experience, but more importantly will help to ensure that both our patrons and staff stay safe. While many things will seem the same, we have implemented a number of new rules and guidelines in addition to your specific-sport guidelines that will help ensure everyone’s safety when inside the Stettler Recreation Centre.”

Brad Robbins, manager of recreation and culture for the Town of Stettler, said the Arena Re-opening User Rules and Guidelines document provides folks with complete details for the coming months, which of course could see some changes as the season progresses.

“The situation around buildings like ours – and how we decide to open them and what restrictions we put in place – is fluid,” he explained. “So as time progresses and things change, we will make adjustments to what we have put in place now,” he said, adding that the building will be used significantly throughout September and October.

“But it’s also a very manageable time in that we only have one arena open of the two, which is normal,” he said.

“Minor hockey also doesn’t bring any of their younger groups into the building at this point in time (either). So it will allow us to get some more people into the building, and it allows our staff the opportunity to ensure that we have an understanding of what it’s going to take to both clean and sanitize the building appropriately. We have also purchased equipment to help us with that process,” he said.

Some of the restrictions set in place, for example, (for the blue ice surface), include that, “Only one parent/guardian can accompany a participant to the arena at this time. Siblings of players, additional parents and grandparents are not to attend in order to reduce the number of entrants into the facility at any one time. Exceptions include participants who have a parent that are coaching the on-ice session and infants.

“Upon entering there will be a hand sanitizer station set up for all on-ice participants and parents to use. After sanitizing, both participant and parent will check-in for their sport specific screening process with a sport association volunteer.

“Participants may now enter their allocated dressing rooms and parents/guardians can enter the blue arena via the main blue arena doors, keeping to the right when walking through the viewing area and using the doors on the right-hand side.

“Parents/guardians staying to watch the on-ice session must do so from the blue arena bleachers.”

As for coaches, they are, “Not to bring participants out of their dressing room until such time as the ice surface is ready (arena staff have closed the zamboni gates). This will ensure no congregating of participants in the bench area and walkway. Coaches may (also) get changed in either the penalty box area or in a specific seating spot in the officials change room. (Figure skating coaches to dress in the SFSA locker room).”

As Robbins pointed out, hopefully in time, some of the restrictions may be loosened a bit but for now it’s of course about keeping in line with every safety precaution that applies to the Centre.

“It’s the same place, but it’s not quite the same at this point in time,” he said, adding that the Province has handed down overall guidance in facility management and in managing specific sports within the building.

”When you take those two things, you then have to figure out how it works in your specific facility.”

Also, one of the challenges with the Recreation Centre is that it’s home to a wide range of age groups and activities.

“Not a lot of these facilities have such a demographic range in them,” he explained. “For example, grandparents might come to watch their grandchild play hockey, but in our building, we also have space for them to come upstairs and do some floor curling or play cards or be in the library.

“Trying to manage that we’ve got a whole bunch of folks coming in who also use the gym, the fitness centre and The Hub, and trying to move some of the groups using the ice away from that to help keep congestion down at this point, is an important part until we get a feel for how that is going to look,” he said.

“But we are glad to have the building open and people coming in here again – that’s what spaces like ours are for!

“I’m also excited to see how things look here two or three weeks down the road as well.”

For complete details regarding the Stettler Recreation Centre re-opening rules, check out http://www.stettler.net/public/data/documents/SRCSafetyFirstArenaUsageGuidelinesFINALpdf.pdf

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