Keeping the Rink Safe
Hockey community emphasizing COVID protocols after outbreak in Montpelier
SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Hockey is one of the most community-oriented sports in the country. From veteran players helping pass the game on to future generations to the finite resource that is ice time, the game naturally tends to generate a lot of interraction between groups of people. But that’s an issue in the age of COVID-19.
“The things that we deal with are trying to schedule our groups in, leaving the proper spacing in between groups so that we can do all of our sanitizing, cleaning,” said Bob L’Ecuyer, the rink manager at Cairns Arena in South Burlington. “Our main priority here is to keep it safe not only for our customers, but our employees.”
L’Ecuyer says his facility has been one of our region’s strictest when it comes to Coronavirus protocols
“We do a temperature check on everyone," he said. "There’s no use of locker rooms, showers. We leave 35 minutes in between groups so that we can disinfect everything.”
There is one other major step Cairns has taken to limit the risk of COVID transmission: they have completely barred spectators.
“The other hard part I know for parents has been that they cannot spectate in the rink," said Meghan Sweezey, the owner of Girls 4 Hockey, a skill development organization for girls and women of all ages.
She says it’s tough for some of the parents and younger kids to understand all the restrictions.
“Yeah I think it really depends on age group,” Sweezey said. "We literally work with some 4 year olds, and I think they’re not as understanding of why we need to wear a mask and why we need to have our space but in general parents have done a really good job about talking to their kids.”
And the recent outbreak at Central Vermont Civic Center has underscored the need for strict protocols if the hockey community wants to have some sense of normalcy this Winter.
“We feel what we’re doing is keeping people safe,” L’Ecuyer said. "At this point, you know, knowing that another rink’s been compromised, we’re, you know sending out emails and talking to people and making sure that the practices that we’re doing, they have to continue doing and they cannot let their guard up.
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