Massachusetts Hockey on Hold Amid COVID Spikes
Late last week, state health officials announced the use of indoor ice rinks and skating facilities will be prohibited until November 7, according to a report from the Boston Herald.The state Department of Public Health, and not Gov. Charlie Baker, made the announcement citing a rise in “COVID-19 clusters occurring at rinks throughout the state following games, practices, and tournaments,” according to the Herald.
With 968 coronavirus cases reported on Friday, which was the highest number in the state since May, health officials pulled the trigger on rolling back indoor activities. To date, Massachusetts has logged 144,895 cases with at least 122,856 recovering, the Herald reported.
The two-week stoppage comes at a tough time for hockey lovers as youth teams have started back up and the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) hockey season is slated to start on December 1.
“Unfortunately, unless we are able to correct these issues, we would anticipate any further shutdown could be significantly longer than the current two weeks,” Massachusetts Hockey said in a statement to the Herald. “This is related to both the guidance issued as well as cooperation with the contact tracing process.”
The organization’s executive team added: “For better or worse the hockey community is viewed as one collective group and, unfortunately, the actions of a few can impact the season for the 50,000 Massachusetts players and coaches.”
Neighboring New Hampshire, on the other hand, will allow skaters at its indoor rinks on October 30, according to the Herald.
“We’ve been struggling during the pandemic,” Robert Walker, owner of Apex Entertainment in Marlboro, MA, told the Herald. “I understand the virus is bad, but no one is considering the collateral damage from a business and psychological point of view.”