Leighton Warner was hoping for a return to normal in 2021-22.
Instead he’s helping the Hope Curling Club navigate through yet another round of COVID restrictions. The president of the club met with the rest of the board Tuesday night to discuss the latest orders from the Provincial Health Office (PHO).
“What it boils down to for us is that when our season does start, everyone is going to have to be fully vaccinated, and the definition for that is double shots,” Warner said. “We may also have to wear masks on the ice, although we haven’t been fully appraised of that yet. We’re not exactly sure.
“The good news is that we will be able to proceed, but it’s about how many new things we have to do to carry on.”
Large gatherings are also on the radar, and the club has been forced to postpone or outright cancel some bonspiels through Jan. 21.
“The most we’d have on the ice at any given time is 32, but with a bonspiel we could have up to 75 or 100 people on the ice at a time and all of those people would need to provide proof of double vaccination,” Warner noted.
The PHO’s new restrictions are in place because of low vaccination rates in the eastern Fraser Valley.
If anyone is on the fence about getting vaccinated, the idea is that not being able to curl or dine out will nudge them towards getting the shot.
“We’ve had no one pushing back on any of this,” Warner said. “We do have a few members, and it’s very few, who aren’t vaccinated, and they basically just won’t be curling this year.”
The club was hoping to get rolling Oct. 1 in a building that is newly renovated, but problems with the ice plant are forcing a delay until early November.
“Then we’ll extend the season a little bit past March,” Warner said.
The one month delay buys curlers more time to make a decision on vaccination, and Warner hopes things trend in a good direction.
“Nothing is normal anymore, and we just have to go with whatever’s happening with the health situation,” Warner said.