Toronto relaxes COVID-19 rink rules as winter activities move ‘toward normal’
For a year, hockey players from coast to coast, and around the world, had been trying to get hold of a free rink time for the COVID-19 pandemic.
But on Thursday, following years of discussion and negotiation for all of the right to have ice rinks available and for leagues to continue as planned, the City of Toronto finally lifted its restriction prohibiting ice rinks during the COVID-19 pandemic.
That has set a new precedent for Canada, where hockey is played not only on frozen surfaces, but on outdoor rinks in public parks, on lakes, and sometimes even on the moon.
But in a city with a population of over 2.9 million, where many residents have jobs in other industries that can’t be held down by the COVID-19 pandemic, can hockey thrive and not just survive, but thrive?
And, if the COVID-19 pandemic is ever to be completely and completely eradicated, how do we do that economically?
“All in all, it does look like the answer lies in our community being able to get back to a season like we used to have,” said Mark-Cunningham. “Even with all of the uncertainty that’s surrounding us right now, the fact that we still have rink rinks available and are making an effort to make use of them is pretty amazing.
“So while we go through this thing, the community is still coming together and trying to find ways to support this sport that’s been in a lot of people’s living rooms for the last 30 or 45 years.”
“I think it’s probably going to be a long and bumpy road,” said Mark-Cunningham. “But I definitely do think we’re making real progress and the community is supporting us and encouraging us to try and have some positive effects.”
The city introduced restrictions on ice rinks in June in both residential and non-residential zones of the city, with many non-residential areas exempt.
Many hockey fans and hockey players across the country were hoping to get hold of a free rink time.
But in the beginning of March, ice rinks were shut down in the city�