Kelowna’s outdoor rink will likely start with self-regulation when it opens in December | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna’s outdoor rink will likely start with self-regulation when it opens in December

Image Credit: Submitted/City of Kelowna
October 24, 2020 - 8:10 AM

Kelowna’s popular Stuart Park ice rink can open this winter in much the same way as it has in the past but only if users don’t overcrowd it.

A report going to city council on Monday outlines three levels of use for the outdoor rink, starting with the most casual.

That plan would include signs about safe distancing go up, with recommendations that people view crowd levels on the rink’s webcam and stay away if it’s too crowded.

Skate rentals, the fire pit and food trucks would not be allowed.

Crowd levels would be monitored during peak hours of 5 to 9 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends. People would be warned about safe distancing and crowds would be monitored.

“The Stuart Park ice rink provides a unique opportunity for citizens to recreate outdoors in the heart of the city,” the report states, noting 25,000 people skate there from December through February each winter.

“Through the years, it has become an important community gathering space and an extremely well-used winter site. Opening and managing the ice rink during COVID-19 is a challenging task with associated risks compounded by the fact that the pandemic is unpredictable,” the report said.

If the initial casual drop-in system doesn’t work, the next level will be to fence the rink off and require people to book at least an hour in advance. Staff will be on-site during peak hours to control entries and exits and casual drop-ins will not be allowed.

If that proves unworkable, the final option will be to close the rink.

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