Two city rinks reopening with restrictions March 1

Progressive Auto Sales Arena (BlackburnNews.com photo by Melanie Irwin)

The City of Sarnia has plans to reopen the Clearwater and Progressive Auto Sales arenas March 1.

General Manager of Community Services Stacey Forfar said their priority will be on delivering youth programming for the rest of the regular ice season.

“The focus really with the reopening is to offer those four pads to the youth in the community and in particular we want to be able to remain flexible with these reopening plans,” said Forfar. “Red does have an impact on capacity, so we certainly want to create an environment that we can at least respond and keep the ice available for those kids for the four weeks of March.”

Minor sports organizations, any previously existing regular organized youth programming, and any required junior hockey will be accommodated to March 28.

She said going from the orange “restrict” level in the province’s COVID-19 reopening framework to red “control” means only ten kids can be on the ice compared to 25.

“We have some capacity constraints with scheduling, So again, the focus on getting kids through organized associations back on the ice was really a key factor. We’ll need that extra time in the schedule and then instead of an adult recreational league, which we already don’t have space for at times, we wanted to use what was left to offer it more broadly to the public in general, not just that group.”

Forfar is hoping to get families out on the ice.

“The other piece of this is that we also want to be able to offer some broader, general programming, through a parent and tot skate, as well as a public skate. We’re hoping to do one of those every day, probably at PASA, we’re just working with the scheduling right now.”

Forfar said further rentals for April will be revisited once area youth have an the opportunity to return to the ice safely.