The Rotary Harbourfront Outdoor Rink in Cobourg will stay open during the province-wide shutdown, but with enhanced enforcement to ensure compliance with public health measures.
On Wednesday (December 23), Cobourg council held an emergency meeting and decided to keep the fountain rink — known as the “frink” to locals — open for the duration of the province-wide shutdown, which runs from Saturday, December 26 until Saturday, January 23rd.
“We understand and appreciate the need to have our outdoor rink operational during a time when so few activities are available for our community,” says Cobourg mayor John Henderson. “Physical and mental well-being are crucial especially during this time of isolation and I ask that all rink users comply with the provincial and public health requirements.”
Outdoor recreational amenities include ice rinks are permitted to open under the Ontario government’s shutdown rules, as long as gatherings are limited to 10 people, people who are not members of the same household maintain at least two metres of distance from one another, and no team sports are played.
On Thursday (December 24), municipal staff will erect a rectangular fence around the perimeter of the rink. For Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, a maximum of 25 skaters will be allowed on the rink at a time.
When the shutdown takes effect on Saturday (December 26) and for the duration of the shutdown, no more than 10 skaters will be allowed on the rink. Cobourg police will provide special constables as added full-time security to enforce the rules and to support contact tracing.
In addition, as of Monday (December 28), all rink users will need to register in advance on the town’s website for 45-minute time slots.
The new operating hours for the rink will be noon to 8 p.m. Monday to Friday and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, weather permitting.
Along with maintaining two metres of distance from others not in the same household, rink users must sanitize their hands before using the rink and must be wearing ice skates or ice sledges. Hockey sticks, pucks, or games of tag are not allowed on the ice surface. While not required under provincial rules, face coverings are strongly recommended.
Those who fail to follow the rules of the outdoor rink will be asked to leave immediately.
As part of Wednesday’s emergency meeting, Cobourg council also asked municipal staff to report back to council on Monday, January 4th with possible sites and costs for a second community rink in the Town of Cobourg.