By Ryan King
Community News Reporter
PORT AUX BASQUES – The increasing number of positive COVID-19 cases and the move to Alert Level 4 in Newfoundland resulted in the closure of a number of businesses and public venues.
Under Alert Level 4, public spaces and gatherings faced several restrictions. Informal gatherings were limited to 10 consistent contacts from outside the household. Gatherings at funerals, burials, weddings, and religious ceremonies were limited to 50 people or 25 per cent capacity, whichever was less. Wakes and dance floors were also prohibited.
Retail stores were allowed to open at reduced capacity. Restaurants were allowed to open at 50 per cent capacity with physical distancing. Bars and lounges were closed, along with cinemas and bingo halls.
Recreational activities were also affected. Group and team sports were suspended where close proximity was required. Arts and recreation activities involving close contact were also suspended. Performance spaces were closed outright.
Additionally, gym and fitness facilities, yoga studios, swimming pools, tennis and squash facilities, arenas, and dance studios could open, but with a maximum capacity of 50 people or 25 per cent capacity per room or ice surface, whichever was less.
While this last set of restrictions could allow the Bruce II Centre in Port aux Basques to be open to the public for recreational activities at a reduced capacity, the building was closed.
Town Manager Leon MacIsaac explained that the town was erring on the side of caution.
“The Town currently has the facility closed due to the high rates of COVID-19 infections in the Province,” stated MacIsaac.
The facility has also been closed to allow for a thorough cleaning.
“The building has been cleaned and disinfected as a precautionary measure to ensure the safety of staff and area residents who use the facility.”
On Thursday, following the provincial COVID briefing that focused primarily on the returning students to schools for in-person learning, the town announced that the Bruce II Sports Centre would re-open to the public the following day, under restrictions mandated by the province.
The facility re-opened with 25 per cent capacity. An announcement on the Bruce II Facebook page stated that registration would be required to use the fitness centre and residents will have to call in advance to reserve their spot.
While the swimming pool did re-open, it was also announced that the ice rink will remain closed.