Update from Curling Alberta

From Jill Richard, Executive Director

May 22, 2020

We know these are strange and unprecedented times, but we hope we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel as Alberta begins to reopen under government direction.  As this unfolds, we want to work with you to make sure our curling rinks are ready to welcome back curlers for the 2020-‘21 season, when we are able. 

Working with Curling Canada and the other 13 other provincial and territorial curling associations, we are in the process of developing curling-specific “Return to Play” guidelines for players, administrators, coaches, and organizers that will help you prepare for the new season and new circumstances based on COVID-19.  These guidelines will be shared with you as soon as possible, with a targeted release in June.  We acknowledge that many clubs and curlers feel an urgency on this topic, and we respect the importance of having this information sooner rather than later. At the same time, we feel it is important to work together to establish alignment in our return to play strategies, and assure you that we are working diligently through a very thorough process to develop guidelines which have been tested and will be applicable and helpful to curling centres of all varieties.  

With the approval of federal, provincial/territorial and civic governments that we can indeed open our doors, and respecting their published guidelines, Curling Canada and its provincial/territorial partners will be presenting webinars and information packages to help our member clubs prepare for a return to play this fall.  Beginning at the end of May 2020, we will present an information webinar for our affiliated curling centres providing them with information on where and how to apply for eligible funding. This will be followed in June by information on the new reality of play, cleanliness, and ways to keep your doors open and your membership safe. Other topics in the works for this summer include ‘friendly’ payment options for your membership, and money-saving ideas to potentially reduce the costs of opening the doors. Please feel free to reach out with other suggestions on topics that will help you going forward.

In addition, Curling Alberta is seeking access to participate in all consultation opportunities with our ministry, and is involved with advocacy efforts with the provincial government to illustrate how we can play an important role in our recovery from the pandemic, and to encourage continued investments in our sector.  Within our provincial context, we are also advocating to understand where curling facilities are to be included in the reopening plan. We believe that curling is unique when compared to other sports that are played in arenas and recreation centres, which at this time are not scheduled to re-open until phase three.

Also, there is information available about the current Government of Canada Economic Responses that your club may qualify for funding to help offset some of the costs related to Covid-19. We are continuously monitoring updates and will keep you informed.