With restrictions in place, The Loop in Bannerman Park is ready for skaters

·2 min read
Heather Gillis/CBC
Heather Gillis/CBC

In a sure sign that winter is here, The Loop skating trail at Bannerman Park in St. John's opened Friday.

But, there are changes to how the park's popular attraction will operate this year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The city has constructed a temporary fence around The Loop in order to limit the number of people who can skate at once.

"With public health measures, it's been instructed we can have 40 people on the ice at a time. So in order to maintain that and man that, we've put up a temporary fence around The Loop," said Jamie Korab, St. John's city council's lead for community services.

Korab says there will be 50 minute skating sessions, which start at the beginning of each hour.

"After that, staff will instruct you to please vacate the ice and that will give about 10 minutes for those people to get off and the next group of up to 40 to go on there," he said.

The city says that access to The Loop will be on a first come, first served basis and they say people cannot book the skating trail.

People must follow public health guidelines, keep within their bubble, and stay two meters away from people who are not close contacts.

Heather Gillis/CBC
Heather Gillis/CBC

"Everything else kind of stays the same, we recommend helmets and skating devices," Korab said.

"We as a council thought it was very important that we get The Loop open and give people a chance to get some sense of normalcy, as well be out, be physically fit, and be in the fresh air," he added.

He says that while The Loop is fenced, the entrance to the skating trail remains accessible, as does the rest of the park.

"The trails are still open here for people who use it to get to school and whatnot," he said. "There's no other barriers to stop anyone from getting around and enjoying the park."

Korab says The Loop will only be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, when weather conditions are favourable, though it will close from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. daily for ice resurfacing and from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Monday.

"It could be two or three degrees and sunny and The Loop is still open because there is a refrigeration system underneath here," he said.

Korab encourages people to call the city's Loop Line to find out when the trail is open before visiting the park.

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