Spectators discouraged in rec buildings, city says

Spectators will be discouraged, but not strictly prohibited, when the city's recreational facilities reopen this fall. 

The City of Fort St. John's department of recreation gave a presentation to city council during the meeting on Monday, August 10, regarding rec facilities reopening and the guidelines and protocols that will be followed. The issue of whether or not spectators would or wouldn't be permitted at events was one of the main takeaways from the presentation. 

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Ultimately, the city will not be prohibiting spectators, but is strongly discouraging them from attending events, and is advising user groups to do the same. However, so long as the number of people at an event doesn't exceed 50, spectators may be able to attend certain events, and it will be up to each group to manage that. 

For the city's ice rinks at the Pomeroy Sport Centre and North Peace Arena, only 20 people will be allowed on the ice at one time, but up to 50 people can be present at once, which includes city staff, people in the stands, and coaches on the bench. 

The speed skating oval will be limited to 50 people at one time, between the actual ice service and spectator area, while the walking track will be limited to 30 people at a time. Up to 40 people are allowed across both pools at the North Peace Leisure Pool at a time. 

The 50 person limit is per event, not per building. This means that each ice surface in the Pomeroy Sport Centre could have 50 people around it at a time, while another 50 people are upstairs using the oval, for example.

The Pomeroy Sport Centre and Kid's Fieldhouse Arena will open on September 8, and the North Peace Leisure Pool on September 14. The North Peace Arena will open in October, though no official date has been announced.

The use of face-masks will not be mandated or enforced, though facility staff may have to wear them depending on the event taking place.

Drop-in times will still exist , but they will now need to be booked in advance, to ensure the 50-person limit isn't exceeded and people aren't waiting outside the buildings to get in for prolonged periods of time during the winter months. 

The city plans to release detailed guidelines for the use of each building, as well as an informative video series, ahead of the reopening of each building.

Email sports reporter Dillon Giancola at sports@ahnfsj.ca

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