SAFSA have recently put out an explanation regarding some of the challenges and complexities of the return to skating in the country. The article can be found HERE.
In our province we face similar hurdles but they may differ in part to the rinks around the country as each will have unique requirments placed upon them depending on the type of establishment they are housed in, the landlord’s requirements and possibly even the status of the metro or area where the rink is located.
With lockdown levels changing and all of the associated confusion, the question everyone is asking is “When can we go back to the rink?” Unfortunately this is not an easy question to answer.
SAFSA and each province will need to first and foremost comply with the National Lockdown rules. While we have moved to Level 3, the Cape Town Sport Council has confirmed that ONLY non-contact, professional sport will be allowed to resume and even in this case it urges them to reconsider as they are of the opinion that all sport should remain off the table at this stage.
Figure skating, while mostly non-contact, is an amateur sport and is therefore not included under this easing. For the official letter from the CTSC, please click HERE.
Once we are legally allowed to resume skating we are sadly still not in the clear. Our rink will have many requirements and protocols placed on them, not only as a business, but also as a tenant of GrandWest Casino & Entertainment World. Any infection or breach of procedure could result in the complete shutdown of the entire complex, regardless of whether this occurs in the Ice Station, the Casino itself or any other tenant on the premises. For this reason it is understandable that Sun International will consider this and potentially be a lot stricter on its tenants than is required as a minimum.
These procedures and precautions require a significant investment in money as well as time. In addition, the responsibility on any entity, especially one that caters to the public is also huge and carries with it serious consequences should any of these be neglected, deliberately or otherwise.
With all of these protocols in place there will likely be a very strict restriction placed on the amount of people allowed in at any one time and the screening (both in and out) for temperature, sanitising and record keeping will additionally make this a very stifling endeavour.
So we will need to wait until our sector (and the landlord’s) is given the green light. Once this is done, we will need to get the all clear from Sun International. Only once we are at or near this point will the rink be able to calculate the specific costs involved and how it will affect them as well as the skaters.
If the rink finds that, based on various factors, it is not practical or financially viable to reopen, it may opt to remain closed until such time that it is.
Unfortunately we do not have any conclusive answers right now. For now SAFSA Western Province and the Ice Station are working to ensure that we meet all requirements that will be placed upon us. The plan is that one we are allowed to resume, we will be in a better position to enable the rink to reopen, and our skaters to resume training as shortly thereafter as is feasible.
Until then, stay positive and continue to train at home. Stay safe and hopefully we will be able to go back to the rink soon.
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