We are sure that many of you are following the news lately and all the conversations around the latest variant of concern. There is no doubt these conversations bring a heightened level of alertness and in some cases, anxiety. In order to help, we felt now is the right time to reach out and reinforce some key protocols in place to mitigate your risk when at the arena.
First of all, due to provincial regulations, vaccination screening will continue for the foreseeable future when entering the arena. Anyone entering that is 12 years of age and older must be fully vaccinated -- there is an 8 week grace period for anyone turning 12 in the New Year. OMHA just announced yesterday that the 5-11 age group will not be mandated to vaccinate this season, but vaccination is an option to these families if they so choose. OWHA has not shared their position yet, so we will update if anything changes.
Secondly, all spectators are required to be masked at all times when in the arena. You are also encouraged to social distance, whenever possible. In the dressing rooms, all team staff and players are expected to be masked until they put on their helmets to go on the ice. Once you have left the ice and removed your helmet, you should immediately place your mask back on your face. If anyone feels that the dressing rooms are crowded, please make use of the benches throughout the arena to tie skates and finish dressing your player. Any parents entering the dressing rooms should only be there to tie skates and then leave. There are currently no limits to the number of spectators in the arena or players in a dressing room, but please be considerate of one another’s personal space and do your best to social distance. Everyone’s level of comfort is different and we encourage you to be respectful of one another.
Lastly, positive cases and/or close contacts are part of our reality. These situations continue to evolve and are being closely monitored by our local health unit with guidance/requirements tailored to each specific scenario. Please carefully review and follow instructions from the health unit as they continue to evolve. The communication and responsiveness by our local health unit, arena staff, and our organization will continue to keep the health and safety of our members and their families at the forefront of our decision making.The stigma surrounding positive COVID cases is not only unfair, but unreasonable. Again, every facility has stringent screening and vaccination policies to reduce your risk significantly. The benefits of our players participating in a healthy, physical activity are far reaching and closely connected to mental wellness. Please respect one another, be kind, be empathetic and we will all get through this season together.
With this in mind, we will likely experience interruptions and challenges to our schedule as a result, so please continue to monitor the organization calendar, individual team calendars, and the website for cancellation updates.
All the best to you and your families – Happy Holidays!
Ilderton Minor Hockey Association