The Board of the Chester Curling Club has been carefully considering the ramifications of the restrictions announced on Friday afternoon by Premier Rankin and Dr Strang and have come to the conclusion that the current circumstances are virtually identical to those that we were faced with on November 26, 2020.
The measure which impacts our club most is the requirement to avoid all non-essential travel into and out of HRM. Since a significant number of our members reside within the HRM boundaries identified by Dr Strang, they are directly impacted as they are forbidden from travelling to the club. Furthermore, some members of the club (as well as coaches) travel into HRM regularly for essential purposes but live outside the HRM boundaries, so although the text of the restrictions may not apply to them, they do pose an increased risk of exposure to other members of the club.
The expedient response to this uncertainty would be to close down all club operations for at least a few weeks, as if we were within the boundaries of the latest restrictions. That approach, however, does not take into account the positive benefits to the physical and mental health of those members of the club who do have the good fortune to both live outside of the formal boundaries and to not be required to travel into HRM regularly for work or other essential activities.
In order to address these factors, we have agreed to make the following changes to club operations until such time as further changes are made to public health regulations.
- Members of the club that live within the boundaries of HRM as designated in the latest restrictions, are forbidden by public health regulation to travel to the club. If you live outside the boundaries, but you, or a household member, travel regularly to HRM for essential activities, we would strongly recommend that you not participate in any club activities. Equally, that recommendation would also apply to juniors who have parents that frequently travel to HRM.
- It is difficult to ascertain exactly how many members will be impacted by item #1, but we do know that it will be significant enough to disrupt the make-up of most teams in the organized leagues on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights and the Junior League on Sunday afternoons. As a result, we will be cancelling the regular schedules of those leagues until new public health regulations are released. In place of those leagues, we already have volunteers to run drop-in leagues on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights and will release details soon of any arrangements that can be made for Sunday afternoons.
- The format of our current drop-in leagues is flexible enough to deal with lower attendance and the Day, Stick and Tuesday Night leagues will continue, with some minor adjustments, to safely address our community’s need for healthy recreation activities. The current gathering limits that are applicable to the ice shed of the club is a maximum of 60 people, so play can still take place on all four sheets of ice within all of the drop-in leagues.
While these restrictions to our operations may seem overreactive, the Club’s location at the edge of HRM puts us in unique circumstances and, in our view, obliges us to follow both the letter and the spirit of the latest public health restrictions. The best thing we can do in the next few weeks to keep the club up and running for the remainder of the season is to do our part to help contain COVID-19 in the HRM area and not have it spread to surrounding communities.
Having said that, your Board members are not public health officials and we have neither the ability nor the power to rule on individual circumstances, especially those in the grey area between those specifically forbidden to travel to the club by provincial regulation and those whose individual circumstances clearly present negligible risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus to other club members.
As with many public health directives that have been issued during this pandemic, it is up to you as a responsible member of society in general, and the curling club in particular, to assess your own compliance with the public health regulations and the direction given by the curling club. Please make your decision to come to the club responsibly and, if you do come to the club, remember to follow all of the protocols in place to safeguard your health and the health of your fellow curlers.