Re-opening rinks with social distancing

GarrAargHrumph

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At Wayne, NJ, several members of one hockey team tested *********-positive. A second team, which had travelled on the same bus with them, was quarantined. The rink didn't shut down at all. I'm not sure they informed the state.

And without hockey, most rinks wouldn't be able to afford to stay open. So even if NJ were to shut down only the hockey programs, unless those programs were at least allowed to practice, it's possible the rinks would shut down, anyway.
 

concorde

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Questions for members: Does anyone know of instances (anywhere) in which outbreaks were traced to hockey, but only hockey was shutdown? I.e., the rink was allowed to stay open for figure skating and other non-hockey sessions? Or does the entire rink invariably have to shutdown?
I believe there is only one "only figure skating" rink left. That is the PSC&HS. County officials are doing random mask checks there and now masks are required 100% of the time (even while running programs).

I was told that the Skating Club of Boston rents out ice time for hockey.
 

Yazmeen

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I believe there is only one "only figure skating" rink left. That is the PSC&HS. County officials are doing random mask checks there and now masks are required 100% of the time (even while running programs).

I was told that the Skating Club of Boston rents out ice time for hockey.
This is true - PSC&HS is a single rink, with no boards for hockey - it's strictly a figure skating rink. From a friend who skates there, they are taking safety VERY seriously with YKW.

While I got my last pair of skates there and have gone there for sharpenings, the problem is that the rink is more than a hour each way for me (requiring the PA Turnpike and tolls) and while the membership offers unlimited ice time, it's VERY expensive and I'd never get my money's worth out of it. At this point, skating is off the table for me until next year and then I'll have to see what is happening with my regular rink (which has reopened after the YKW closure). I love skating, but I won't risk my health or my life for it.
 

sk8pics

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I heard today that the University of Delaware rinks are opening back up. I think this is odd timing given that we just set a record for new cases in a single day, and most of the cases are in New Castle County (I believe). We’ll see if they stay open. They are taking it seriously. There was a zoom call for coaches to review the rules and if you want to skate there you have to attend one of the zoom calls.
 

spinZZ

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At Wayne, NJ, several members of one hockey team tested *********-positive. A second team, which had travelled on the same bus with them, was quarantined. The rink didn't shut down at all. I'm not sure they informed the state.

And without hockey, most rinks wouldn't be able to afford to stay open. So even if NJ were to shut down only the hockey programs, unless those programs were at least allowed to practice, it's possible the rinks would shut down, anyway.
I agree. Most rinks cannot survive long-term without revenue from competitive hockey programs. The big ??? is how long in the short-term can rinks survive without revenue from competitive hockey programs. From the information that's been released publicly, the outbreaks primarily stem from hockey competitions. And in NJ that appears to be the case since Gov. Murphy allowed indoor sports competitions (including hockey) to restart in mid Oct. The rinks in NJ re-opened in early July with freestyle, hockey lessons and restricted practices, and private rentals; and then expanded to include LTS and limited public sessions (in one rink anyway). As far as I've heard or read, there were relatively few problems through mid Oct. But I also don't know whether these operations were profitable through the summer; or whether rinks just wanted to get restarted, in expectation of better times to come.

There is an essential difference between figure skaters and hockey players. I think most figure skaters would be willing to take lessons, train, and practice even in the absence of tests or competitions for extended periods (and many don't test or compete anyway). But the raison d'être for hockey players is for one team to compete against another. I'm not sure how long hockey players would be content with drills for skills.
 
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sk8pics

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So I participated today in a UDel rink reopening call. They have very detailed procedures and plans in place, including a process by which someone could get kicked out for the rest of the school year. Infractions are things like not wearing your mask, either at all or properly, not staying 6 feet away from others, and a few other things. If a kid forgets to pull his mask up over his nose, they will be reminded but if it keeps happening it counts as an infraction. First infraction gets a warning and the second infraction leads to a 2-week suspension. After the suspension, another infraction means no skating for the rest of the year. You have to sign up for sessions and that’s all managed through the coaches. So if you just want to practice, your coach still has to sign you up. Coaches can be out on the ice with their skaters but are supposed to stay 6 feet away, so no partnering. Attendance is limited to 20 skaters and 10 coaches. That actually sounds like a lot to me, but I know they are anxious to be able to get people back on the ice. Overall, it sounds like it will work pretty well.
 

annie720

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So I participated today in a UDel rink reopening call. They have very detailed procedures and plans in place, including a process by which someone could get kicked out for the rest of the school year. Infractions are things like not wearing your mask, either at all or properly, not staying 6 feet away from others, and a few other things. If a kid forgets to pull his mask up over his nose, they will be reminded but if it keeps happening it counts as an infraction. First infraction gets a warning and the second infraction leads to a 2-week suspension. After the suspension, another infraction means no skating for the rest of the year. You have to sign up for sessions and that’s all managed through the coaches. So if you just want to practice, your coach still has to sign you up. Coaches can be out on the ice with their skaters but are supposed to stay 6 feet away, so no partnering. Attendance is limited to 20 skaters and 10 coaches. That actually sounds like a lot to me, but I know they are anxious to be able to get people back on the ice. Overall, it sounds like it will work pretty well.
Is his UD's first reopening? I have a friend who teaches in the Red Clay district and they went back to on-campus teaching two weeks ago, again interesting timing.
 

sk8pics

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Is his UD's first reopening? I have a friend who teaches in the Red Clay district and they went back to on-campus teaching two weeks ago, again interesting timing.
Yes, I believe it is. UD is not fully open and normally no visitors are being allowed on campus, so the fact that they are letting the ice arenas open is different from the rest of campus. I do think they are doing it in a very thoughtful way.

I have lost track of what the various other schools are doing, so I can’t comment on what Red Clay is doing in particular.

I was only surprised they are reopening because our numbers have been going up and up here; yesterday was a huge number of new cases for a small state, and the positivity rate was almost 15%.
 

spinZZ

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I was thinking that this would be a great time to re-introduce figures and patch sessions. Lots of spacing between the skaters, no heavy breathing, and everyone stays in their own place on the ice.
Having a dedicated portion of the ice per skater would certainly provide a greater margin of safety. I wonder about what would be needed to be economically viable these days. In patch, how many patches were configured on a standard NHL size rink (i.e., what was the maximum number of skaters per session)? How did the hourly rate for patch compare with that for freestyle (which I believe typically has a max of 20 or 25 skaters per session, depending on the rink)?
 

ladolcevita

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Hi there.
I heard the news that Toronto is going into lockdown for at least 28 days to limit the spread of *********-19. Does anyone know if the cricket club will also be closed?
 

gkelly

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In patch, how many patches were configured on a standard NHL size rink (i.e., what was the maximum number of skaters per session)?

I think 24. I learned to skate at a smaller rink that only had 18.

That includes skaters on adjacent patches both approaching the border between them at the same time, and skaters crossing the midline on serpentine figures later in the session.

If you wanted to make it so skaters almost never got within 6 feet of another skater, you'd need to assign only half the patches alternating sides of the rink in each strip.

How did the hourly rate for patch compare with that for freestyle (which I believe typically has a max of 20 or 25 skaters per session, depending on the rink)?
My day was so long ago that the prices I remember would not be relevant now.

My local rink now until March allowed 30 skaters per freestyle session on the Olympic rink and 28 on the NHL rink. Since they reopened this summer the number is approximately half that.
 

spinZZ

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My day was so long ago that the prices I remember would not be relevant now.
Thanks for the response. I didn't mean comparing patch way back when to freestyle today. I meant comparing patch to freestyle back in the same time frame. E.g., today freestyle is a lot more expensive than public, and I know skaters who normally skate at publics would not be willing to pay freestyle prices for less crowded, more controlled sessions. I was just wondering whether back in the day patch was comparable to freestyle or, say twice as much.

When my home rink re-opened for freestyle in the summer, they charged $25/hr, which many were willing to pay. But initially they required a two-hr minimum session (to minimize the number of skaters coming and going). But practically no one was willing to spring for a $50 session (especially since most skaters weren't able to last for 2 hrs after being off ice for 4 months). The rink quickly had to change to a 1 hr minimum session. It's a difficult balance between charging enough to stay afloat (while still attracting enough customers willing to pay) and charging so much that most customers balk and stay away.
 

gkelly

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Thanks for the response. I didn't mean comparing patch way back when to freestyle today. I meant comparing patch to freestyle back in the same time frame. E.g., today freestyle is a lot more expensive than public, and I know skaters who normally skate at publics would not be willing to pay freestyle prices for less crowded, more controlled sessions. I was just wondering whether back in the day patch was comparable to freestyle or, say twice as much.

This is what I remember, from the rink where I usually skated 45 years ago:

An hour of patch alone was $4
An hour of patch+the following hour of freestyle was also $4 (i.e., once you bought a patch, that also entitled you to skate on the freestyle session that went with it)
The freestyle alone was $2

Two hours of public session was $2
 

concorde

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Philadelphia SC&HS offers 4 patch sessions a week. None of these 4 offerings are during "high demand" times. During the week (3 of the 4), the sessions are offered when the kids are in school; on the weekends, the session is offered early in the morning. From what I have heard, there are two regular patch skaters. I assume there is a patch coach.

At these, 1/2 of the ice is dedicated to patch; the other 1/2 is still open to regular skating.

Rates would be the same regardless of which 1/2 you are skating on. But also remember, that this is a "members only" rink and most members skating using some subscription plan. I doubt any for-profit rink would be willing to do this.
 

GarrAargHrumph

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My first coach had told me that patch ice tended to be during the normally unused hours - so at her rinks, patch was at very early hours, for example. And although in winter, due to the lack of sunlight, the rink would turn on the lights, in the summer, they would not, because they didn't earn enough from patch to fund the electric, and the skaters skated to whatever light came in through the sides of the rink or the windows.
 

overedge

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When I last skated on a figures session (it wasn't a formal "patch" session with assigned spaces, because there were so few skaters) it was at 5:30 am on a Saturday morning.

I get that during normal times figure sessions wouldn't be cost-effective for a lot of clubs and rinks. But if freeskate sessions aren't feasible because of health restrictions, figure sessions might be a way to keep skaters on the ice and training.
 

GarrAargHrumph

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If a facility doesn't earn enough to cover its costs of being open, it's often better off shutting down. At most US rinks, the figure skating programs don't bring in enough money to keep the rinks open; it's about hockey.
 

Yazmeen

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If a facility doesn't earn enough to cover its costs of being open, it's often better off shutting down. At most US rinks, the figure skating programs don't bring in enough money to keep the rinks open; it's about hockey.
And this also explains why a membership to PSC&HS costs what it does: https://pschs.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/2020-21-Dues-Fees-Schedule-NEW.pdf

I previously skated 2 to 3 sessions a week. Club dues at my rink were less than $100 per year, and with my skating card each freestyle session cost about $12 - so at max, I was spending maybe somewhere between $1,500 to $1,700 annually counting time off for vacations, etc. I worked with a private coach, 2 lessons per month. PLUS: PCS&HS requires a $900 one-time initiation fee for unlimited skating, or $450 for limited use. Between the commute and tolls and fees, it's pretty obvious why PSC&HS is not in the cards for me.
 
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Sylvia

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If a facility doesn't earn enough to cover its costs of being open, it's often better off shutting down.
With the recent C0VID-19 health order put in place by Boise's mayor, Lauren McLean, Idaho IceWorld will close its doors Nov. 23 thru Sept. 30, 2021.
“I totally get the concerns our customers are having. Taking a facility like that is highly popular, has a lot of folks that utilize the facility during the wintertime we knew it was going to be an inconvenience," said Doug Holloway, City of Boise Superintendent of Recreation Services. "Certainly, that was going to be taking away a very high recreational opportunity for our customers.”
The local hockey and skating community is devastated by the news, but the city said that the decision had to be made based on the current spike of C0VID-19 cases.
 
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Sarah

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Yes, I believe it is. UD is not fully open and normally no visitors are being allowed on campus, so the fact that they are letting the ice arenas open is different from the rest of campus. I do think they are doing it in a very thoughtful way.

I have lost track of what the various other schools are doing, so I can’t comment on what Red Clay is doing in particular.

I was only surprised they are reopening because our numbers have been going up and up here; yesterday was a huge number of new cases for a small state, and the positivity rate was almost 15%.
Did they say anything about requiring UD’s daily health screening? Basically a daily health questionnaire that all students, staff, faculty, and visitors (not that many visitors are allowed, most students/staff/faculty are remote and I know we most staff need authorization to work on campus). You need a green check to enter campus. (On a side note, the 4am text about the health questionnaire everyday is...fun)

Either way, opening the rinks does fit with plans to have more students back in the spring. The ice arenas are one of the few athletic facilities that haven’t reopened (though I know the college teams have clinic nights at Rust rather than team practice).
 

spinZZ

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So sad, but it makes sense as it’s too expensive to operate outside winter months.
Yes, when I read the article, it made sense to me. That particular rink loses money during the spring and summer months, and needs to make enough profits during fall and winter to be sustainable year round.

In the three rinks that I'm familiar with in my area (NJ), there is a short lull in the spring, but strong business through the summer, when kids are out of school. Figure skating and hockey camps are popular in summer. The serious freestylists who are normally at school have time for more practice in summer. And there are summer tournaments for serious hockey jocks.

Public sessions during weekends are normally packed during winter but sparse during summer, because typical recreational skaters don't skate during the summer. But weekday public sessions are the opposite: sparse during winter, but often packed with 100+ skaters in summer. We have many outdoor summer camps in the area. Some camps plan on public sessions for the kids as an occasional cool treat. All of the camps include skating as a Plan B option for rainy weather: when it rains, it's busloads and busloads of kids off to skating rinks, bowling alleys, arcades, or movie theaters.
 

sk8pics

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@Sarah Yes, skaters and coaches have to do the daily health check and display a green check mark on their phone to get in. The rink is open as of today, unless something changed since the call on Saturday.

As for the daily text at 4 am, can’t you put your phone on do not disturb so it doesn’t wake you up with the text?
 

Yazmeen

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@Sarah Yes, skaters and coaches have to do the daily health check and display a green check mark on their phone to get in. The rink is open as of today, unless something changed since the call on Saturday.

As for the daily text at 4 am, can’t you put your phone on do not disturb so it doesn’t wake you up with the text?
It's good to be old and still use a clock radio and keep my phone in my home office at night, not in my bedroom...
 

MacMadame

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It's good to be old and still use a clock radio and keep my phone in my home office at night, not in my bedroom...
I also do not bring my cell phone into my bedroom. I figure nothing that happens in the middle of the night can be acted on until the morning anyway.
 

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