Re-opening rinks with social distancing

Z

ZilphaK

Guest
Not sure when rinks will open, but when they do, I'm guessing using the ice and rink spaces is not going to look like what it used to, at least not for some time.

Does anyone know if USFSA is giving any guidance to clubs yet, or will it most likely come from the rinks? I know so much is unknown yet, but best guesses -- What might "getting back to skating" look like? How do we keep skaters and rink staff safe? What changes would make you feel safest?

What might testing or competitions (if any)look like, at least in the closer future?
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Debbie S

Well-Known Member
Messages
12,517
USFS has been communicating with clubs, about comps and specific club activities. Right now, they are recommending cancellation of club events through the end of June (we officially canceled Chessie this week :( ). The opening of rinks is presumably up to rink owners/states/municipalities and will probably vary in different parts of the country. I would assume the priority will be to open restaurants and retail, likely with a limit on the number of people allowed inside, so I would expect rinks to have the same restrictions, at least at first. But it will likely depend on whatever the state's/region's rules are.

I don't think it would be feasible to have everyone wear a mask while they are skating, and that's likely not something rink mgmt wants to be responsible for enforcing, so my guess is it would be optional.

It's hard to know what comps will be feasible. Even if rinks reopen in June or July, will skaters want to compete even if comps were held this summer? Would they be ready for Regionals/Sectionals, and would skaters, coaches, families, officials, etc, want to attend a large comp in the fall? If we don't have a qual season, what would Nats look like? Will we even have Nats, and would it be held w/o spectators?

Test sessions are probably easier, b/c there are fewer people overall in the building and usually only a handful in the rink area at any given time. With only 3 judges, you could seat them far enough apart.
 

Rock2

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,686
There are so many issues to consider, but I agree that state and municipal guidance / laws will drive what can happen. I agree, too that even if rinks are allowed to open there will be restrictions initially. And that raises another question relative to the rink being able to financially operate with capacity limited (and the restricted revenues that come with it).

As noted, different regions are going to upload at different times. If you're USFSA (or Skate Canada up here) you will preach fairness and build your nationals plans based on lowest common denominator states. So if key regions such as NY/NJ and Michigan for example are slow to upload you have to ask yourself if you can hold regionals and/or nationals in good conscience without participation from some important rinks and their athletes.

Same issue applies when you look at ISU championships. Will they be held if a material number of countries have not recovered and athletes are not back to training and/or flights allowed to leave the country?

Best case scenario is rinks open Aug/Sept and you hold one domestic event around December - an expanded nationals qualifier to prepare for nationals. GP and JGP are gone, you have 4CC, Euros, Jr Worlds and Regular worlds.

Medium scenario would have rinks open in the fall, worlds pushed back a month or two (because if you lose worlds then Olympics are a nightmare for qualifying etc), most nationals running around late Feb/early March. No Euros, 4CC or international junior events of any kind.

Worst scenario is this season doesn't happen. I truly believe sports and entertainment will take the major brunt of this situation, such that unless an effective treatment is identified we don't see much of any return of international sports with fans until late 2021/early 2022. Hate to say that out loud, but the more spread out your competitors are geographically and the more the sport depends on gate revenues to be viable the more trouble you're in.

I think tennis will suffer the worst among all recognizable sports. Skating will be rough, too but maybe individual federations will be able to create national level competitions until such time as international events are restored. Otherwise we'll see a ton of athletes drop out of the sport.

Fluid situation that starts with seeing global case rates start to crest so that timelines can start to become known. Really really need a treatment, and wide availability of quick tests to enable solutions.
 

hoptoad

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,626
Club ice with limited numbers may be the first thing to come back. Far less contact than hockey! I don't know how feasible the business will be for rinks, but hopefully many skaters will at least be able to get on the ice and practice this summer.
 

Debbie S

Well-Known Member
Messages
12,517
Public sessions and LTS are major sources of income, as is contracted ice. However, it's the public sessions in the fall and winter that put rinks 'in the black' for the rest of the year. Since it's summer, lack of publics is not as much of a concern but if they won't be able to have publics during the coming fall and winter, that will be a big problem.

Hockey leagues contract a lot of ice so if they can't have games this year, that will also be a big loss. Skating clubs who contract ice could suffer losses if the amount of skaters is restricted. Normally capacity is 25 skaters, and my club is near or at capacity for a bunch of its sessions in the fall and winter. If we had to limit sessions to, say, 10 skaters, we would either have to charge more or take a loss, which would not be sustainable in the long run. :(
 

spinZZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
210
A critical issue that medical professionals have only started to consider is, What is the minimum safe social distance for a sport such as figure skating? The commonly cited safe social distance is 6 ft between persons. But that assumes that they are breathing normally, and that they are either stationary or moving slowly (e.g., walking). But in a sport such as figure skating, the skaters are breathing heavily and moving rapidly. With heavy breathing, sick skaters are more likely to expel larger volumes of contaminated droplets, and healthy skaters are more likely to inhale larger volumes of contaminated droplets. With rapid movement, healthy skaters are more likely to skate into contaminated clouds, previously expelled by sick skaters, before the contaminated clouds have dispersed or settled.
 

overedge

G.O.A.T.
Messages
29,262
Given the usual level of chaos on public skating sessions, I can't see those coming back any time soon unless the numbers are restricted and there is more actual supervision on the ice. Also because of what @Jozet mentioned with the crowding in the lobby.

I don't know about clubs. I'm sure there would be enough skaters wanting to come back, but for clubs that lease their ice, there usually has to be a certain number of skaters on each session to make the fees affordable. It would really be a shame if the fees went way up because only so many skaters were allowed on the ice at once. Skating is expensive enough as it is.

I also don't see synchro skating coming back any time soon, because of the numbers on the ice and the close contact among the team members :(
 

Yuri

Active Member
Messages
419
My best guess is that ice rinks will reopen whenever health clubs reopen, probably the best analogy as these are spaces where there's no way it will work with masks. Probably the same time that swimming pools, tennis courts, and other shared athletic spaces open. I would imagine that opening will depend on the status of each state, some athletic centers are reopening as soon as this weekend, others remain closed indefinitely. My best guess is that at least in the USA, policy will gradually switch from one-size-fits-all to self-quarantine for high risk individuals, and a return to a semi-normal way of life for the younger and healthier. In other words, individuals will regain the ability to make their own risk assessments--and we will sort ourselves into those who want to remain in bubbles and those who understand that life itself is never risk-free. So I see the reopening of ice rinks staggered from May to July-August, depending on politics.
 

overedge

G.O.A.T.
Messages
29,262
In other words, individuals will regain the ability to make their own risk assessments--and we will sort ourselves into those who want to remain in bubbles and those who understand that life itself is never risk-free.

:rolleyes: Yes, life itself is never risk-free, but there's acknowledging that and still wanting to keep yourself safe. Especially against a disease that can be spread by asymptomatic people.
 

GarrAargHrumph

I can kill you with my brain
Messages
19,157
I wonder how an extended period without access to rinks will impact the future re: elite level skating and hockey. Already, I'm concerned that we won't get a lot of our Learn to Skate kids back. If this goes on for longer, these programs may need to rebuild from the ground-up.

In the US, the way I see it, rinks in some areas (NJ, for example) will reopen with strict social distancing rules that may last for quite some time, and rinks in other states will just... reopen (or open with some rules at first, then really reopen soon after.) This may mean that we'll see some skating training centers shift, geographically, to where there's more ice available. We'll have to see.

I also think that we'll see some rinks close permanently or change hands, if things don't open up soon. They rely so much on income from hockey that a season without large scale hockey may be the end of them.

In terms of teaching Learn to Skate if we're trying to do social distancing - there are real issues there. In rinks where the LTS sessions are crowded, they may need to cut enrollment if they're going to continue the program. They'd also need to work on "rink management", as others mentioned, in terms of getting people in and out of the facility, on and off the ice, etc.

For the classes themselves - I can teach the older LTS kids without being near them/touching them, but it would be harder to teach the little ones that way - they don't stay far enough away.

For freestyle sessions, I wonder if most rinks won't ignore/not even think about the "maybe we need to be more than 6 feet away from each other" thing, and will instead just cut the number of people allowed on the ice - if they even do that. Because if the max allowable number of people inside the rink building is, let's pretend, 350 people according to fire code, and they only allow 28 on a freestyle, they're already legally "social distancing". So we'll have to see if they actually do anything different from what they used to do, in terms of freestyle sessions.

This would be easier, I would think, if skaters were limited to skating at one rink, for the time being.

Thoughts on registering with one rink for practicing?

I know it would affect some coaching situations and possibly not having all the ice, BUT would limit how many rinks might have to shut down/skaters quarantine if a potential hot spot developed. Again, we're talking about a temporary situation, but if it helps get rinks open and keep them open....

I don't know how we'd be able to limit skaters to only one rink in the US. There's no system in place to check, nothing that would enforce, and really no way to know if a skater is going from rink to rink.
 

MacMadame

Staying at home
Messages
38,839
There common wisdom is they can shed ***** and pass is along, but one of my science-y friends just shared two studies -- one from China, one from Norway -- that showed almost a 0% transmission rate from children to adults.
I don't see how that is possible given that 9% of the dead in China are children. If children can get C-19 and can die from it, there is no way they can't give it someone else.
 

mjb52

Well-Known Member
Messages
4,041
I don't see how that is possible given that 9% of the dead in China are children. If children can get C-19 and can die from it, there is no way they can't give it someone else.

Where did you see that? I've always read that almost no children had died of *********.
 

AxelAnnie

Like a small boat on the ocean...
Messages
12,645
It just occurred to me that "Social Distancing" is an oxymoron.

Social: needing companionship and therefore best suited to living in communities.

Distance: The noun distance usually refers to physical space in between two objects, like the distance between your parking spot and the entrance to the mall. It can also mean an interval in time, like a distance of two years since you graduated. Another meaning of distance is remoteness, like the distance between you and a close friend who doesn't talk to you much these days. The Latin root is distantia, "a standing apart."
 

spinZZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
210
It just occurred to me that "Social Distancing" is an oxymoron.

Social: needing companionship and therefore best suited to living in communities.

Distance: The noun distance usually refers to physical space in between two objects, like the distance between your parking spot and the entrance to the mall. It can also mean an interval in time, like a distance of two years since you graduated. Another meaning of distance is remoteness, like the distance between you and a close friend who doesn't talk to you much these days. The Latin root is distantia, "a standing apart."
"Social" has several definitions. One broad definition (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/social) is

3 : of or relating to human society, the interaction of the individual and the group, or the welfare of human beings as members of society

Hence, "social distance" in the current crisis context refers to the physical separation between any two individuals in a human society. No oxymoron.
 

spinZZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
210
I wonder how an extended period without access to rinks will impact the future re: elite level skating and hockey. ...
For elite figure skaters and pro hockey players who are willing, there is one early option: skaters and associated members (coaches, support staff, ...) gather in isolated complexes (such as previous Olympic villages), quarantine themselves for two weeks, get tested to make sure they are not asymptomatic carriers, and then go ahead with normal training. All new members, including members who leave and then return, must undergo the same procedure.
 

spinZZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
210
Why is c_o_r_o_n_a_v_i_r_u_s and p_a_n_d_e_m_i_c being filtered out and replaced by strings of asterisks? If I type the above question normally, it is parsed as: Why is ******** and ********* being filtered out and replaced by strings of asterisks? Are these words now being construed as profanity? I noticed that in older threads, these words did appear, but now have been retroactively replaced by asterisks as well. What gives?
 
Last edited:

VALuvsMKwan

Wandering Goy
Messages
7,300
Why is c_o_r_o_n_a_v_i_r_u_s and p_a_n_d_e_m_i_c being filtered out and replaced by strings of asterisks? If I type the above question normally, it is parsed as: Why is ******** and ********* being filtered out and replaced by strings of asterisks? Are these words now being construed as profanity? I noticed that in older threads, these words did appear, but now have been retroactively replaced by asterisks as well. What gives?

Please read this thread for the explanation.

 

spinZZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
210
Please read this thread for the explanation.

OK. Thanks.
 

spinZZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
210
Hopefully they bring back private ice time. I'm literally always 2 metres from my coach anyway.
Unless "private" means you and your coach have the entire ice to yourselves, there will be other skaters and coaches on the ice. So social distance between any two individuals needs to be maintained. And as I discussed above, more than ~ 6 ft/~ 2 m will likely need to be maintained between skaters who are breathing heavily and moving fast.

Also, appropriate social distance needs to maintained not only on the ice, but on all areas of the arena; e.g., entrances/exits, lobby, locker rooms, restrooms, front desk, walkways to the ice .... Depending on the layout of the arena, this may be difficult to do; likely some remodelling needed, as well as new operating rules (including reduced capacity). Whether this is economically feasible is the big question. Otherwise, we will need to wait for an effective drug or vaccine.
 
Last edited:

Miezekatze

Well-Known Member
Messages
15,412
I think tennis will suffer the worst among all recognizable sports. Skating will be rough, too but maybe individual federations will be able to create national level competitions until such time as international events are restored. Otherwise we'll see a ton of athletes drop out of the sport.

Why do you think tennis will suffer the worst?
It's not a contact sport and apart from the audience problem that all sports will have for events, you don't have to have that many people to run a professional game and they don't have to get too close together. So I don't get why tennis should suffer the most?

For amateur training, Tennis and golf courts have been reopened in the first German states (also in Austria and Czech republic), for tennis the rules are: only 2 players (no double training or games), everybody needs to have their own balls and no use of the showers/changing rooms.

As for ice rinks:
For horseback riding, that hasn't been banned here, you can't give group lessons, but people can privately ride their horses. Most indoor riding halls here have 20x40meters (800 square meters) and the German equestrian federation gave the recommendation to limit it to 4 riders at the same time during the current crisis, so that it's 200 square meters per rider (of course people will still be mixing and using the whole area). I'd guess they'd keep that up when it's reopened for more than private riding. Probably group lessons won't be able to have more than 4 riders (unless the riding arena is bigger).
So an Olympic ice rink would probalby only be able to allow like 8 skaters at the same time, if one applied similar rules. This of course might not be economic...(for horseback riding it's not THAT dramatic, because you'd usually not have more than 6 to 8 riders at the same time in a 800 square meters arena, so you still lose capacity, but it's not as extreme a loss.
 

Rock2

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,686
Why do you think tennis will suffer the worst?
It's not a contact sport and apart from the audience problem that all sports will have for events, you don't have to have that many people to run a professional game and they don't have to get too close together. So I don't get why tennis should suffer the most?

Athletes in many sports will be able to get back to training fairly quickly. But to reboot the tours you have to consider the following:

*Events are held all over the world and the athletes come from a large number of countries. So you basically need airplanes flying everywhere to restart the tour properly since the players are scattered around the globe
*Players are independent contractors and have no guaranteed income. Those outside of around top 60-70 deepend on a weekly paycheck to cover their expenses, including fixed monthly commitments to trainers, physios and coaches. Every month that goes by dramatically increases the chance that a material number of players will be forced to abandon the sport
* Tennis could consider relocating to one geographic region, however this plan will have piles of issues, including:
  • there are three different governing bodies involved and they don't collaborate well (ITF, ATP, WTA)
  • tennis leaders have pretty much admitted that not all players could practically be involved due to cost and travel restrictions
  • tennis leaders have said that in this sort of formula they will struggle to figure out rankings points allotments so rankings points might not be offered. Cash play only that will be significantly reduced, thus making it not practical for lower ranked players to participate
  • earliest possible reboot would be fall which pretty much eliminates Europe and North America from the picture. There, you can only play indoors at multi-purpose facilities which won't have the scheduling flexilbility or infrastructure to support events compared to outdoor, tennis-only facilities that are much more preferred
  • Events outside of Europe and North America typically generate low TV revenue bc of time zone and competing against other winter sports. Events depend on gate revenue to make their money which won't be possible. Economics might not be there

Many players and high ranking officials within federations are envisioning mini, domestic only tours for a little bit of cash to keep their players playing in the short to medium run. Unless some spectacular amount of collaboration and ingenuity comes to pass, that's probably all you're looking at until about this time next year is my guess.
 

spinZZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
210
I hope group lessons don't come back for a long time. I hate coaching those the most.
This isn't intended to be snarky. If you hate coaching group lessons so much, why do you do them? Since you hope group lessons don't come back for a long time, I assume you don't need the income from them. So if you hate them and don't need the income, why do them? I've found that many group lessons are unsatisfactory partly because many of the coaches really don't like them and don't put much effort into them (I'm not making any sweeping global generalization here; just my local observations). But they do them for the extra income.
 

Rock2

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,686
Really good discussion here. Many great points, issues, ideas raised.

I agree that for elite skaters there might be some grouping - selecting a fixed number of rinks/areas and keep all those involved isolated as possible so they can train.

Also the way I see regions looking at this (I'm in Ontario, Canada) governments won't be able to figure out procedures for each sport or activity. I see them setting parameters and then governing bodies will have to drum up their own procedures and self-regulate. There may be government inspectors hired to drop into businesses and venues with a zero tolerance policy to shut you down with even one violation.

I think some things will be figured out in the short term but the more I think about it the more I think organized sports and entertainment will take a massive extended hit from this. Low priority with the p******c going on, and then after this is over, funds will be dried up at both individual and government level to sustain widespread participation.

I wonder out loud if we'll start to inch back to the days of making your own fun with the neighborhood kids.
 

barbk

Well-Known Member
Messages
7,066
My son plays hockey and figure skates. These days, he does schoolwork by noon, and then goes out bike riding and fishing all day, not coming in until moon is up (well...except to eat all the food I've just bought). I think he and some other kids are building a dirt bike trail in the woods near a local creek, complete with Evel Knievel jumps.

Not sure when he'll get back to hockey, but he sure is doing some interesting cross-training. ;)

I wish we lived a bit farther north, somewhere with a possibility of an outdoor rink. Pond hockey is sure to make a comeback.

I'm sorry for the situation causing this, but I love the idea of kids figuring out things themselves like this.
 

Japanfan

Well-Known Member
Messages
24,055
It just occurred to me that "Social Distancing" is an oxymoron.

Social: needing companionship and therefore best suited to living in communities.

Distance: The noun distance usually refers to physical space in between two objects, like the distance between your parking spot and the entrance to the mall. It can also mean an interval in time, like a distance of two years since you graduated. Another meaning of distance is remoteness, like the distance between you and a close friend who doesn't talk to you much these days. The Latin root is distantia, "a standing apart."

It's not an oxymoron exactly but physical distancing would be more accurate IMO and send a clearer message.

Canada's PM and probably some other politicians have started using 'physical distancing'. But I don't think it has yet taken hold among the general public.
 

MacMadame

Staying at home
Messages
38,839
Canada's PM and probably some other politicians have started using 'physical distancing'. But I don't think it has yet taken hold among the general public.
Governor Newsom is pushing that too. But he's not having that much luck getting us all to use it.
 

Debbie S

Well-Known Member
Messages
12,517
Email from USFS today (the key paragraphs):

Recognizing that each ice rink and associated business is unique and must adhere to its own state or local *********-19 procedures and restrictions, U.S. Figure Skating’s guidelines will be released and posted on USFigureSkating.org in three phases:
  • Protocols for Return to On-Ice Activities – No later than May 4
  • Standards for Disciplines and Programs – Week of May 11
  • Course of Action for Competitions and Events – Week of May 18
As you can imagine, there is no “one size fits all” guide in this situation. We anticipate there will be updates to these guidelines as more restrictions are lifted or if stay-at-home orders are restored. These updates will be conveyed on USFigureSkating.org.

But yes, each state/region is different and will likely not have exactly the same rules. Plus, rinks aren't part of or bound to USFS. Clubs will likely have to follow local laws and rink policies first. But it will be interesting to see what USFS says about comps...may be a hint as to whether we'll have a qualifying season this year.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top
Do Not Sell My Personal Information