The City of Williams Lake is upping its game on COVID-19 precautions for anyone organizing or attending events during weekends at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex ice arenas.
Beginning Saturday, Oct. 17, all visitors who enter the arena will be required to wear a mask from Friday through Sunday.
Ian James, the City’s director of community services, said a mandatory mask requirement was the right decision to make as more players, parents and spectators are slated to visit the arena.
“With hockey we’re having people come in from outside the community for games and things like that, and having some more spectators up in the stands — up to 50 [in arena one],” he said. “I believe the responsible thing really is for patrons coming in and spectators to wear the face masks because it’s pretty standard now, anyhow. In an effort to protect all our people we want to make sure we enforce the social distance and, instead of making it voluntary, people need to wear a mask coming in.”
On Oct. 13, the Hollyburn Country Club in West Vancouver was shut down indefinitely due to a COVID-19 exposure at its facility, and James said the City wants to ensure it does everything it can to ensure there are no exposures at the CMRC. Discussing the Hollyburn closure, B.C.’s provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry reminded sports complexes to be diligent in following safe COVID-19 practices.
The procedure update means all parents, players and user groups will need to be mindful of who is coming and going from the arena during their scheduled play times.
Masks will not be mandatory from Monday through Thursday, however, the City is recommending patrons to wear one, James said.
“If there’s a visiting team coming into the arena it’s just mandatory,” he said.
The City also noted in its update all user groups using the arena lobby are expected to come dressed in full gear, including skates with guards, or shoes and a full water bottle.
User groups are also required to have a volunteer in the arena lobby to supervise their belongings and to ensure unauthorized individuals do not enter the area.
“This is a public facility. We are asking that if an unauthorized individual approaches your group or does not follow our arena guidelines for COVID-19, you ask them to leave that area or find a staff member to help you,” the City’s update states.
Players and skaters are required to wear masks when they enter the facility and, once they are in the change room or have left the lobby to get dressed, they may remove their mask to go out onto the ice.
Other reminders of guidelines already set in place include restrictions for arena capacity including a 30-person maximum in the lobby area for organizers, coaches and players only.
In rink one, 50 skaters are allowed on the ice surface, with another 50 allowed in the seating area.
For rink two, 50 skaters are allowed on the ice surface, with 20 allowed in the standing room area as spectators.
James noted it will be the responsibility of the WLMHA to monitor and enforce the use of masks and physical distancing.
“They are keeping their contact list of who is coming and going — that sort of thing,” James said. “Things are evolving, changing, updating all the time. That’s why we’re trying as best as we can to make sure we don’t have any cases from people coming in from outside.”