The Ponoka arena complex will open to the public on Sept. 30, although COVID-19 restrictions will be in place.
“Ice making is currently underway and we’ve been working closely with our arena user groups as we prepare for the reopening of the facility,” said Andrew Jones, Town of Ponoka recreation services coordinator in a news release.
Local user groups worked with the town to create COVID-19 protocols in accordance with provincial health requirements, says Jones.
Arena user groups, which include hockey and ringette, will begin holding practices and scrimmages on the ice once the facility reopens. Games against visiting teams from other municipalities will not resume until a later date yet to be determined.
“Ponoka will also not host any tournaments between now and January to help minimize the spread of the virus. This decision will be re-evaluated at a later date,” said Jones.
All available ice rental time slots at the Arena are fully booked by local user groups from September to December.
In keeping with provincial health requirements and recommendations, the amount of ice time available for bookings has been reduced to accommodate increased cleaning, sanitizing, physical distancing and gathering restriction limits.
A joint user group meeting was held in late July to provide user groups with information, answer questions and listen to their feedback.
Another joint user group meeting will be scheduled before the arena reopens to provide additional information and answer questions.
Public skating will be available on the small ice surface Monday through Thursday each week from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Those wishing to attend public skating at the Arena must first phone the Aquaplex to register at 403-783-0131. The outdoor rink will also be available for public skating once weather permits.
The town also plans to work with the East District Fire Department again this winter to flood and maintain the ice skating trail in Centennial Park to give citizens another place to skate.
Public health measures
There will be hand sanitizing stations placed throughout the arena, and separate entrances and exits.
There will be an occupancy limit of 100 people, including all ice users and spectators. Spectators at the arena are encouraged to wear masks, sanitize and follow directional markings.
Showers will not be available at this time.
For the most up-to-date information on the reopening of Town facilities, please visit the Town website at www.ponoka.ca.
– With files from the Town of Ponoka