Lace up, not all skating rinks are closed for the season
BARRIE, ONT. -- Like most things this year, the long-awaited outdoor rink season will look a lot different in parts of Simcoe County.
Tay Township decided not to open three of their natural ice surfaces this season.
"Keeping capacity numbers down, and places where people could congregate," said Bryan Anderson, manager of parks, recreation and facility services for Tay Township.
Anderson said even if things change with the pandemic, these three rinks will remain closed. However, that doesn't mean the whole season is sidelined.
"We've decided to focus our attention on the Tay Community Rink," said Anderson, about the NHL-sized rink in Port Nicoll.
"And make sure that the refrigerated ice service is open and operational by following the guidelines set out with COVID-19," he said.
The rink is currently open, and they are taking private group reservations, up to 25 people, all winter.
"The hope in the new year is that we'll be able to open up some registered public skating times at that facility," said Anderson.
Oakview Woods rink opens Friday in Wasaga Beach.
The Mosley Street rink, located beside the RecPlex, is free during regular hours and available for pleasure skating only.
Oakview Woods rink is open weekdays from 9 to 5 and weekends from 9 to 8.
Further south, the City of Barrie is prepping for the season.
"Well, the ice is coming along pretty nicely. We just had the Zamboni on to get another layer of ice," said Rob Bell, the city's director of recreation and culture.
Both rinks at the city centre in front of City Hall and Centennial Beach will be open starting on Saturday at 10 a.m., but leave the hockey sticks at home because only pleasure skating is allowed.
Additional precautions such as closed bathrooms and change rooms are part of the season this year and a maximum of 10 people on the ice.
Bell said the city is asking visitors to monitor the ice capacity before stepping on it.
As the county sits in the red zone, rinks remain open. However, Bell said further restrictions, such as a grey zone, could mean something else.
"If we go to a grey level, we certainly have to consider what all of the regulations and parameters surrounding that lockdown is," Bell.