After much deliberation at their regular Sept. 28, 2021 County of Wetaskiwin Council decided to implement the provincial Restrictions Exemption Program (REP) for adult user groups at the Winfield Arena.
With the REP in place the Winfield arena will remain open and will require any one over the age of 18 to provide government issued proof of immunization, medical exemption, or a negative privately paid COVID-19 hours from within the previous 72 hours.
The county decided to not put the REP into place for youth under 18 sport, fitness, and performance activities.
Indoor group classes, training and competitions are permitted but participants will be required to screen for symptoms, maintain two-metres social distancing—except for when engaged in physical activity, and anyone who is not a youth is to wear a mask while engaged in physical activity.
Spectator attendance has been restricted to 1/3 fire code capacity and all visitors will be required to wear masks at all times and physically distance unless they are on the ice.
The decision was made following extensive conversation between council, with some members, including Reeve Josh Bishop speaking out strongly against implementing the REP.
“The Restriction Exemption Program is discrimination,” Bishop said. “And I can’t stand for that.”
Bishop stated that if the REP was put into place at the Winfield arena it is unfair for only unvaccinated patrons to provide a negative COVID-19 test to use the building, and not all patrons given that everyone has the possibility of being a carrier for the virus.
Other councilors including Terry Van de Kraats disagreed with Bishop, stating, “this is a pandemic of great significance and people are trying to be as safe as they can be.”
Van de Kraats stated that the county should choose whatever would get the most people who want to use the arena skating this fall- and given that there was an adult league team that was willing to abide by the REP to play the best option would be to put it into place.
Councillor Lyle Seely said that whatever the county chose to do they should not implement restrictions further than what is recommended by the provincial government.
The final vote to implement the REP for adult user groups in the arena was in favour five to two, with Bishop and Councillor Bill Krahn voting against.