Masks mandatory for Kinsmen Arena in Yorkton

Mandatory, non-medical mask or face coverings for all people entering the Kinsmen Arena will be in place, effective Sept 15th, until such time as the Public Health order recommending mask or face covering use within two metres, is lifted.

The decision to move forward with the mandatory masks at the facility was made at the regular meeting of Yorkton Council Monday.

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“The Kinsmen Arena is the final recreation facility to open after all rec facilities were closed due to COVID-19 on March 17. It should be noted that this is the normal opening timeframe for the Kinsmen Arena that occurs each fall. However, due to COVID-19 restrictions, a re-opening plan must be created, with support from our local Public Health official, which meets the Public Health Order under the guidelines and recommendations of the Re-open Saskatchewan Plan,” explained Darcy McLeod, Director of Community Development, Parks and Recreationwith the City.

Various sections of the Re-open Saskatchewan Plan are used to inform and develop a facility re-opening plan. Page 7 of the Plan, indicates that, among other recommendations, that “The following recommendations should remain in place through all five phases” of the Re-open Saskatchewan Plan:

*Physical distancing must be maintained, wherever possible.

*Enhanced cleaning and disinfection should take place in workplaces, public spaces and recreational facilities.

*Current public and private gathering restrictions must be followed.

The three recommendations above have a significant impact on all buildings and facilities, however because of the space available (or not available in this case) at the Kinsmen Arena, options for developing a re-opening plan that ensures effective and efficient use of the Kinsmen Arena, were limited, said McLeod.

McLeod noted physical distancing can be done in the Kinsmen Arena, however, to do so and meet the guidelines on indoor public gatherings, which is capped at 30, impacts the amount of programming that can be scheduled in an evening or weekend. In effect, with proper physical distancing, the Kinsmen Arena can only accommodate a total of 21 people in the dressing rooms and another 15 in the spectator area. The facility occupancy cap is set at 30 and the on ice cap is also set at 30. This means that the 30 people on the ice is the maximum allowed under the facility cap allowance.

In addition, “The current occupancy cap set by the Public Health Order allows for a maximum of 30 people in an indoor recreation facility. Further, the maximum number of people allowed on an ice surface is 30. With respect to the Kinsmen Arena, which only has one staff person on shift at a time, in order to get as many people on the ice that is currently allowed, we need more than the existing dressing room space, which can only accommodate 21 people. If we used all the dressing room space for one user, we would need approximately 1.5 hours between users in order to clean and sanitize the building, and provide the ice maintenance required, before the next user can enter the facility. This greatly reduces the usage of the facility, and subsequently the revenue generated,” he said.

“As we re-open services to the public, it is not possible to social distance at the recommended six feet and operate the Kinsmen Arena effectively or efficiently.”

With mandatory masks the number of people using the facility is increased.

“Yorkton Minor Hockey has chosen to implement a mandatory mask policy for all of their participants and parents in order to maximize use of the Kinsmen Arena,” added McLeod. “... By making the use of non-medical masks or face coverings mandatory at the Kinsmen Arena, we could accommodate other users sooner after each booking, allowing us to more effectively use and efficiently sanitize the facility, and minimize the negative impact to revenue generation”

“The Blue Room would be exempt from mandatory mask use as long as the use doesn’t exceed the cap of 14 persons without a non-medical mask or face covering, in order to accommodate physical distancing,” added McLeod.

If the Blue Room occupancy is over that amount, masks or face coverings will be required.

The Facility Reopen Plan, which has been supported by Public Health, includes the following:

* Participants are not allowed in the facility until 10 minutes before their scheduled ice-time.

* Anyone entering the facility would be required to wear a mask or face covering. The face covering would remain on until the person enters the playing surface, or a participant places their helmet on. It would be placed back on once the person exits the ice for any reason, and be kept on until they vacate the building.

* If a parent needs to attend to their child to tie skates, they will be permitted to enter to assist their child as long as a mask or face covering is worn, and then the parent would be required to leave the facility to minimize mingling of people and contact with high touch surfaces.

* As with all of the City’s re-opening plans, every group renting/using a City facility is required to have a Covid Compliance Monitor on-site during their booking to ensure their group remains Covid-compliant during their use. Further, all users are required to collect contact information of those in attendance and keep it on file for 30 days to aid with contact tracing if Public Health were to require it.

* The lobby will remain closed to minimize mingling of people and contact with high touch surfaces.

* Entrances will be alternated for each user and will correspond to the assigned dressing areas. Exits shall be through the same door that was used as an entrance, or when spectators are allowed, through the corresponding fire door in the arena.

* Spectators, once permitted in the Plan, will be permitted at the discretion of the user and shall not exceed the cap and will require contact tracing for all entering the facility.

* Non-medical face masks or coverings shall mean those that meet the recommended standards of the Public Health Agency of Canada, which are securely fastened (ties, elastics, ear loops, etc.) and are hands-free.

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