By Ryan King
Community News Reporter
PORT AUX BASQUES – Due to an increase in COVID-19 cases over the holiday season, Newfoundland and Labrador moved to Alert Level 3 in a bid to slow the spread of the virus. This meant a variety of restrictions for residents on several fronts.
Measures included moving schools back to online classes and the closure of performance spaces, bars, lounges, cinemas, and bingo halls.
While options for recreation were largely curtailed, regional residents could still visit the Bruce II for some regularly scheduled activities, such as swimming. The continuation of the daily open swims while the numbers of the infected increased rapidly throughout the region was more than a little surprising.
However, Port aux Basques Town Manager Leon MacIsaac explained that keeping the pool open was still well within the guidelines.
“The Bruce II Complex has followed all provincial protocols for access and use of its facility. During the Christmas Season with Alert Level III in place, access to the facility was limited based on the guidelines provided,” said MacIsaac.
Under Alert Level 3 regulations, gym and fitness facilities, yoga studios, swimming pools, tennis and squash facilities, arenas, and dance studios were permitted to open, with a maximum capacity of 100 people, or 50 per cent capacity per room or ice surface, whichever was less. That didn’t last long though.
On a Jan. 3, 2022 COVID-19 briefing, provincial health officials announced that the entire province would move to Alert Level 4 at midnight thanks to the still spiking number of cases and the confirmed presence of the Omicron variant on the island.
The Level 4 guidelines are similar for recreational facilities, with the stipulation that they can open with only a maximum capacity of 50 people, or 25 percent capacity per room or ice surface, whichever was less.
The reduced capacity could still allow the pool to remain open, but Town Council made the decision to close the facility.
“Council had a discussion after yesterday’s media briefing and decided to close the Town’s Bruce II Complex for two weeks to permit extensive cleaning and disinfecting of the facility,” stated MacIsaac.
Just how long the Bruce II will remain closed is still unknown.
“Council will reassess in the coming weeks on whether/when the facility will reopen based on COVID-19 case infections and information from the Province,” stated MacIsaac.