Guelph's Market Square rink closes due to overcrowding, lack of masks
KITCHENER -- The City of Guelph has closed a popular public skating rink after it was overcrowded with skaters, some of whom were not wearing mask.
"Oh Guelph, you're not going to like this," a post on the city's Twitter account read in part. "We don't either."
The city said that it had to close the rink at Market Square because people weren't following COVID-19 guidelines.
Earlier this week, Ontario imposed a province-wide, four-week lockdown beginning on Dec. 26 at 12:01 a.m. But that lockdown doesn't affect outdoor facilities like skating rinks.
Rinks are allowed to stay open so long as anyone who enters maintains at least two metres from other people and as long as people don't play team sports where people are closer than that.
On Tuesday, the city said it's going to install a fence around the rink and planned to reopen on Dec. 27.
“We know how much people enjoy the rink and we want to offer safe ways to get outside and have fun this winter,” said Colleen Clack-Bush, Deputy Chief Administrative Officer of Guelph’s Public Services, in a news release. “Last weekend, we tried opening the rink and hoped people would share the space like they do in parks, but it got too crowded. So, we’ll control the entrance and limit skate times to 45 minutes so everyone gets some time on the ice.”
The city said it will allow 25 people on the ice for a maximum of 45 minutes. Skaters need to wear a mask and stay two metres away from people not in their immediate household.
Several people took to Twitter to express their disappointed with the decision to close, with one person asking the city what it had expected to happen.
"Better. We expected better," the city replied simply.
Guelph has seen more than 1,000 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, a number that has doubled since the start of November.
Of those cases, 12 people have died. The city currently has 139 active cases.