By ALEX SPONSELLER Warwick Mayor Joseph Solomon announced last week that the Thayer Arena will be opening up on Monday, June 29, and also began issuing permits for field use for local leagues to begin practicing. "e;From the beginning of the COVID-19
By ALEX SPONSELLER Warwick Mayor Joseph Solomon announced last week that the Thayer Arena will be opening up on Monday, June 29, and also began issuing permits for field use for local leagues to begin practicing.
“From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic I have stated that it is a rapidly developing situation, and guidelines have changed frequently. My top priority has always been ensuring the safety of everyone in Warwick, and I have been vigilant in balancing public access with public health. I know that sometimes it has been difficult for Warwick’s residents to adhere to the closings and restrictions we have implemented, but the health and safety of our community has been my foremost concern. As new guidelines are issued, I am constantly reassessing what City facilities and programs can safely reopen,” said Solomon in a statement.
The Thayer Arena will be under strict state and CDC guidelines upon reopening, and will keep these restrictions in place for the remainder of Phase 2 which will likely be until mid-July. Prior to Phase 3, the arena will not be hosting public skating sessions, but will be open for the Warwick Figure Skater and Warwick Junior Hockey.
“We are going to begin with our two biggest stakeholders in the Warwick Figure Skaters and Warwick Junior Hockey. We will see how things go at first and then be more liberal and open it up to other groups. At this point, for every hour of ice time, we are going to spend half an hour to make sure everything is clean and to get one team out and the next group in,” added Warwick Director of Parks and Recreation James Scott.
Scott is excited to see the city take another step toward welcoming back sports.
“People want to play, they want to get out there. You have your hockey diehards, your figure skaters, and those ice athletes need that time in the summer to really develop their skill set. There is a very passionate crowd. It is very important and to see people begin to get back to normal is really nice,” Scott said.
In accordance with updated Phase II guidelines issued via ReopeningRI, Thayer Arena will open with the following safety precautions in place:
· Stable groups of no more than 15 skaters. “Stable groups” means that the same individuals will remain in the same groups throughout the course of the program. This includes participants, staff, and any team leaders. Parents and spectators will not be permitted inside the building.
· One stable group must exit the building prior to another group entering. To ensure cleaning and sanitizing of the facility between groups, the rink will be shut down for 30 minutes after each group leaves.
· Until state guidelines indicate that it is deemed safe to accommodate out of state participants, no use by out of state participants will be allowed.
· Thayer Arena will be available by scheduled groups only; no public skating options will be offered at this time.
· All groups renting ice must provide a COVID-19 compliance plan, as well as documentation that they will be maintaining stable groups of participants.
· Coaches must wear face masks or cloth face coverings.
· The facility will be open for practice only; it will not be open for games until state guidelines indicate it is safe to do so.
Mayor Solomon also announced that youth and adult sports organizations may begin resuming limited activities in accordance with ReopeningRI Phase II guidelines. The Warwick Parks and Recreation Department will begin accepting applications for field using immediately. However, as with Thayer Arena, safety precautions are in place, including:
· Stable groups: youth organizations are required, and adult organizations are strongly encouraged, to organize participants into stable groups of a maximum of 15 people.
· Physically distancing is strongly encouraged, and each stable group is required to maintain a minimum of 14 feet between their group and any other groups.
· Additional screening and cleaning measures must be in place.