Central Manitoulin municipal halls, arenas to be closed for two weeks

MINDEMOYA – All Central Manitoulin-owned halls and arenas will be closed for two weeks as a precaution with several confirmed cases of COVID-19 having been confirmed in the community in the past few days.

“As we are all aware, unfortunately there have been some cases (of COVID-19) confirmed in the town,” said Mayor Richard Stephens at a municipal property committee meeting this past Tuesday. He explained that he and municipal clerk Ruth Frawley have discussed a few options as to closing down municipal buildings. “The Mindemoya Minor Hockey Association has cancelled all games and practices to the end of the month.”

“Ruth and I are recommending to close down our arenas for two weeks,” said Mayor Stephens. “The next question is that if we are closing the arenas we should also probably looking at our halls as well so there will be no public gatherings.”

“I agree with the assessment that we should close all of our (municipal) buildings to the public, and I think the (municipal) office should be included as well, until the end of the year,” said Councillor Derek Stephens.

Mayor Stephens said the idea behind having the hall buildings and arenas closed for two weeks is the school students will be out of school for the Christmas break, and after Christmas they will still have time off between then and going back to school in the new year. “It would still provide the potential opportunity for kids and adults to use the skating rink for a few hours during the holiday.”

“If we have problems now, do we not think there will be problems over the holidays?” asked Councillor Rose Diebolt. “I agree with Derek, they should be closed (until the end of the year).” 

“I feel this is the right thing to do, but I don’t feel right about it. It would be great to be taking my kids skating over the holiday; the students are still going to school. I don’t mind things being closed for two weeks and re-evaluating everything at that time,” said Councillor Johnston. 

It was noted by Mayor Stephens the municipal office staff has consulted with the health unit on this issue. 

“My take on all of this is that we could close everything for two weeks and re-evaluate this with Ruth in two weeks,” said Mayor Stephens. 

“I’m comfortable with Ruth evaluating everything in two weeks, and having all public indoor buildings closed for two weeks,” said Councillor Steve Shaffer. “All Manitoulin Minor Hockey Association games and practices have been shut down until January 4.”

The committee directed staff to have the municipal buildings and arenas closed for two weeks and then have town clerk Ruth Frawley re-evaluate the situation as of December 25.

Ms. Frawley told the Recorder on Wednesday all municipal halls and arenas will be closed to the public for two weeks (not including the municipal office) until December 23, and an assessment of the situation will be carried out at that time. 

In neighbouring M’Chigeeng First Nation, following an emergency meeting of that community’s Emergency Operations Group, it was decided to suspend in-person learning at Lakeview School and the M’Chigeeng Binoojiinhs Gamgoonhs (daycare) effective Wednesday, December 9. A tentative return date for Lakeview students has been set for January 11, 2021.