As outdoor activities remain a key ingredient in residents' health and well-being, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Ottawa wants residents to know how it's adjusting its approach to outdoor skating rinks due to the virus.
The city's rinks are typically maintained by volunteers and community groups, and that will be no different because of COVID-19, but there will be some operating recommendations from Ottawa Public Health and guidelines from the Province.
The City of Ottawa says users can expect to see signage posted at all outdoor rinks this winter, reminding skaters to maintain a two-metres apart. Information pertaining to gathering limits will also be included, based on allowances at the time of rinks opening (current outdoor gathering limit is 25).
For outdoor rinks with indoor spaces, such as a fieldhouses or trailers, offering warm places to put on skates during scheduled supervision hours, the city will be implementing several new procedures for the 2020-2021 season:
- The maximum capacity for the space will be reduced in order to maintain physical distancing requirements.
- Anyone entering the building will be required to review the health screening questionnaire.
- Anyone entering the building will be required to wear a face mask, as per the Temporary Mandatory Mask By-Law (exceptions those with a medical or physical condition and those under 5 years of age).
- High-touch surfaces, such as railings and door handles, will be cleaned frequently during operational hours.
- The names and phone numbers of skaters entering the building will be collected for contact-tracing purposes.
Most outdoor rinks in Ottawa tend to open by late December or early in the new year. In order to create base ice, the city says 10 to 15 centimetres of accumulated snow is needed, with evening temperatures consistently below -10 degrees Celsius for a duration of five to seven days.
The rink operator breakfast will be cancelled this year due to gathering limits and predicted continuation of the COVID 19 pandemic through the winter months. the cuty's seasonal recreation staff are still in the process of reviewing alternative recognition options for the rink operators.
Residents with questions regarding the general operation of the outdoor rink program are invited to contact the seasonal recreation office by phone, at 613-580-2590, or by email, at seasonalRecreation@ottawa.ca.