Some CK arenas reopen to the public

Inside Blenheim Arena. (BlackburnNews.com file photo)

A few arenas in Chatham-Kent have reopened under new health and safety protocols.

Director of Parks, Recreation and Cemeteries Jeff Bray said ice request forms were sent out last month after municipal staff received approval from council to open arenas if there is enough demand.

Based on usage, Bray said Tilbury Memorial Arena and Blenheim Memorial Arena were approved to be reopened this week on Friday. Meanwhile, the Ken Houston Arena in Dresden is scheduled to reopen the week of August 23.

“Typically we would have opened Thames Campus Arena [as well] but we have to do a major repair there that was unexpected,” he said.

Like many businesses, the arenas have adopted COVID-19 safety protocols in order to reopen.

“People will be screened with the typical COVID-19 questions — most people are used to by now,” said Bray. “We’ll take contact information for tracing purposes in case something unfortunate happens and we’ll be taking temperatures as well.”

Bray said once people enter an arena, there will be no overlap between groups. Showers will be closed to the public, dressing room usage will be at the supervisor’s discretion, but washrooms will be open if needed.

Since ice times are scheduled, cleaning will take place between group usage.

As for whether or not more arenas will reopen in the near future, Bray said additional forms were issued on Thursday asking for definitive ice times.

“Next week, staff will be looking at that to determine needs in each community to see if we have enough usage to rationalize opening more rinks,” said Bray.