Norfolk County is preparing for a limited re-opening of some of its arenas to skaters associated with provincial or national sporting bodies such as the Ontario Hockey Federation or Skate Canada.
Plans continue to be developed in accordance with guidance from the provincial government and public health officials, however the following FAQs address a number of important questions recently raised among community members.
Who will have access to ice time at Norfolk County arenas this fall and winter?
Staff are working with organizations associated with provincial or national sporting bodies, such as the Ontario Hockey Federation or Skate Canada, to book ice time this fall. These groups have strict return-to-play protocols mandated by their governing bodies, which include physical distancing and contact tracing measures. These measures reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading in the community and will assist public health officials in containing any outbreaks of the virus.
Will adult pickup and shinny hockey leagues have access to Norfolk County ice time this season?
Currently, Norfolk County is working only with groups associated with provincial or national sporting bodies.
Norfolk County is following the lead of Hockey Canada, which has developed return-to-play protocols which do not allow for the playing of full games (or even the use of rink benches) until a later date. As such, Norfolk County is asking rec, shinny and pickup groups – many of which typically don’t begin their season until October – to wait until it is considered safe for them to return to play.
Norfolk County will continue to review and monitor the situation over the coming weeks.
I’ve heard that other municipalities are opening their rinks for pickup and shinny hockey. Why can’t Norfolk?
Every municipality must manage the COVID-19 situation in a way that makes sense for their own community. Some areas have closed all rinks entirely, while others are opening a small fraction of their total arenas. Some are allowing private rentals, while others are not.
Norfolk’s current plan is to open a number of its arenas to skaters associated with provincial or national sporting bodies.
Norfolk County’s first priority is the health and safety of residents and staff. The County will continue to monitor and evaluate the situation over the coming weeks.
Will Norfolk County offer ice time for pickup hockey and shinny later in the season?
Staff will continue to monitor and evaluate the situation in the coming weeks, and will look to groups such as Hockey Canada, as well as public health officials, for guidance and timing on when such activities might be safe. Norfolk County is hopeful that minor hockey will be permitted to return to game play, and that shinny and pickup hockey will be safely able to resume this season.
How is Norfolk County protecting the health and safety of those skating at local arenas this season?
In addition to the robust return-to-play protocols developed by each sporting body, Norfolk County is implementing its own plan aimed at limiting the spread of COVID-19. This will include the regular cleaning of all touch surfaces inside arenas, building capacity limits and keeping change rooms closed to ensure physical distancing before and after games.
Why has Norfolk County added a COVID-19 charge to each hour of ice time?
Norfolk County has added a $25 COVID-19 charge to each hour of ice time to cover the cost of additional cleaning of all touch surfaces required after each use of the rink. The charge covers the additional staffing time, personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies needed to ensure the safety of everyone using the arena.