City of Kelowna will make a decision by mid-October on how Stuart Park ice rink may operate during COVID-19

Will Stuart ice rink open?

As we get closer to the winter season, the question of whether Stuart Park’s outdoor skating rink will reopen in the midst of the pandemic, and in what capacity, still remains unanswered.

City of Kelowna communications spokesperson Marnie Douglas says making a final decision on the popular outdoor rink isn’t a priority for the arenas team right now, who are more focused on opening other facilities in the city such as Parkinson Rec Centre and other arenas.

She expects there will be an update by about mid-October regarding what Stuart Park’s skating rink will look like this winter, such as how many people could be allowed on the ice at one time, whether it will open on schedule in early December, and how social distancing could be enforced in such an environment. 

Last week, Big White Ski Resort announced it won’t be opening their Olympic-sized outdoor skating rink this season, due to the challenges of COVID-19. 

"When considering physical spacing, sanitization, safety protocols, indoor operations, and outdoor gatherings, the offering of night skiing, tubing, skating, and fire pits have been deemed too precarious to operate," reads the Big White website.

"All these considerations brought us to the decision to suspend these services during COVID-19.” 

However, city-owned indoor skating rinks will still be open to the public, with a few adjustments in place to meet requirements for physical distancing.

The Stuart Park ice skating rink first opened in 2011, and welcomes up to hundreds of people a day for free skating during peak season.

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