Some parents not following physical distancing rules at Cape Breton rink
MEMBERTOU FIRST NATION, N.S. -- It seems not everyone is following physical distancing rules at the Membertou Sport and Wellness Centre.
It's only been a couple of days, but the facility is already seeing a business boom.
"We're fully booked from 7 a.m. right through until 9 p.m., Monday to Friday," said general manager Paul Carroll. "We are sold out. The earliest ice time I have is Aug. 10."
Players are happy to be back on the ice; for some it's the first time since mid-March.
Things are a lot different than just a few months ago. There's only a maximum 10 players in each dressing room, physical distancing signs are posted, and there are fewer people in the stands.
For coach Chris Culligan, it's all about the game, and less about the pandemic.
"I'm sure they're getting a lot of it when they come to the rink, and then from their parents as well," Culligan said. "I think of this as a bit of an escape. It's the last thing I want to talk to them about. It's about hockey for us."
Off the ice has been a problem for Carroll and his staff, with parents showing up to watch their children play and not following the physical-distancing rules.
"We've had to send a couple reminders out to people to remind them of that fact," Carroll said. "The players themselves have been fabulous, there's been no issues. It's more the education with the parents that's been a bit of a challenge."
The arena contains a second ice pad, which will open in August, a walking track, and fitness facility. Carroll says he's unclear when things will return to normal.
One thing is for sure, Carroll says -- if rules are not followed, stricter measures will be put in place.
"I've told them they won't be allowed in the rink," Carroll said. "If they can't follow protocols, so emails have gone out to the people who have rented the ice to remind their parent groups that social distancing is in place and must be followed, and if not, we won't allow them in the rink."
As long as everyone stays onside, Carroll says things will run smoothly. For the most part, he is happy the doors are open, offering players, coaches, and fans some sort of normalcy.