All ice rinks ordered closed for two weeks due to COVID-19
WESTFIELD – Amelia Park Ice Arena shut down Oct. 23 for two weeks, along with all other ice rinks across the Commonwealth.
Due to rising cases of COVID-19 connected to indoor ice hockey, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health issued a new public health order Thursday prohibiting indoor ice rinks and ice-skating facilities from operating from Oct. 23 to Nov. 7.
Amelia Arena General Manager Bruce Landon called the order “devastating.”
“We were just getting back on our feet after being shut down for the spring and most of the summer,” Landon said. “This will impact all of our programs, including Westfield youth hockey, our men’s leagues, our learn to skate program and our public skating.”
Landon said just one program will continue as planned.
“From what we understand, the only thing not being affected will be Westfield State’s practices and they were on a limited basis,” said Landon. “We had strictly enforced our COVID-19 cleaning and safety protocols and did not have any issues. This was a blanket statement affecting all rinks in the state and was not specific to Amelia Park.”
Landon said the arena is “a tremendous asset to the City of Westfield and the surrounding towns and our facility is enjoyed in different ways by people of all ages. We are a nonprofit and as such will have an emergency board meeting to discuss our plans for the next two weeks and beyond.”
Assistant General Manager Christine Pagella said the community can continue to support the rink by visiting www.AmeliaParkArena.org and making a donation by clicking on the support the arena donation link.
According to a press release from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, this order is in response to multiple COVID-19 clusters occurring at rinks throughout the state following games, practices and tournaments. Neighboring states including New Hampshire have enacted similar temporary restrictions regarding indoor ice hockey.
There have been at least 30 clusters of COVID-19 associated with organized ice hockey activities involving residents from more than 60 municipalities in Massachusetts. Each of these includes two or more confirmed or probable COVID-19 cases, totaling 108 confirmed cases, states the release.
This pause will allow for the development of stronger COVID-19 protocols to further protect players, families, coaches, arena staff and other participants, as well as communities surrounding hockey rinks.
Current protocols include limitations on the number of people allowed in an arena, social distancing and other precautions. This order includes all indoor ice rinks and ice-skating facilities in Massachusetts. These rinks and facilities may not operate during this temporary two-week pause. College and professional programs are exempt from this order.