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Hybrid COVID rules now instituted at Bowden arena

One set of rules for youth and another for adults at Bowden Igloo

BOWDEN — Town council has decided to adopt a hybrid system of COVID-19 restrictions in its Igloo arena. 

The new rules took effect Jan. 24, Town of Bowden Mayor Robb Stuart said during an interview. 

He said government officials “gave us permission to do it, so that’s what we’re doing.” 

Council had discussed going to the hybrid system, outlined by chief administrative officer Greg Skotheim during their Jan. 10 meeting. 

However, decision was postponed to a Jan. 17 special meeting of council because Skotheim said although he had information from government officials on how the program could work, he did not have permission to share it and he was aware that a member of the news media was covering the Jan. 10 meeting. 

Under Skotheim’s proposal as outlined on Jan. 10, for any activities not involving adult recreation, the Igloo would be limited to one-third capacity.   

Facility users would not be checked for proof of vaccination but masks would have to be worn.  

However, adult facility users such as rec hockey would be subject to the provincial government’s Restrictions Exemption Program (REP). Users would check for compliance with help from town staff.  

Under the REP, Albertans are required to show proof of vaccination, a negative COVID-19 test or a valid medical exemption in order to enter many businesses, facilities and venues.  

Skotheim said if this proposal was adopted, security personnel would no longer be employed to help out at the arena, thereby saving the town more than $1,000 a week.   

Up until now, Jan. 24, the town had been implementing the full REP there. 

Stuart was asked if he believes the new rules are a good compromise. 

“I think so, everybody’s safe. Then the parents don’t get caught in the middle of proving they’re vaccinated to get in the arena with the kids,” he said. 

“I think it’s the best way to do it. So it’s too bad it took us two months to get it sorted out.” 

Skotheim said many surrounding communities have adopted the same combination of rules.