Whittingham Discovery Center

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Cohen Skating Center Closed By Order of the CT Department of Economic and Community Development Due to COVID -19 Restrictions

It is with profound disappointment that we announce the closing of the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Skating Center for the 2020 - 2021 skating season.  On November 21, when we opened the skating center, outdoor rinks in Connecticut were allowed to operate at 50% capacity with masks worn at all times.  The Collaborative pivoted its normal ice skating operations to offer a safer experience in light of the pandemic including:

  1. Limiting skater volume to 50% capacity
  2. Implementing an advance online ticketing system, limiting the number of skaters who can show up in a 30-minute window allowing us to reduce crowding and potential bottlenecks.
  3. Altering the physical layout of the site, removing an indoor tented warming hut.  Check in and skate rental are conducted from trailers that the general public does not enter, and benches have been placed outdoors for changing.
  4. Enhanced cleaning and disinfecting for skates and high touch surfaces happens throughout the day based on CDC guidelines.
  5. Hand sanitizer stations available for the public as they enter the skating zone.
  6. Signage reminding people to socially distance is located in the rink area.

On December 7, the state instituted a new series of rules called 'Team Sports on Pause'.  While no organized sports such as hockey are allowed on the Park's rink, under that order the State of Connecticut has created its own, novel definition of what constitutes a team.  Until January 19, 4 or more strangers doing the same activity are a team, making public skate times a team sport.

The Collaborative requested the state review this, because the order eliminates the outdoor winter skating season, but they have declined to recognize the distinction between public skating and hockey.  We know that this is a blow to the Stamford community and resident's efforts to engage in safe outdoor recreation while the pandemic is ongoing.  With 62% of our skaters being children so far this year, we know that families are looking for ways to keep their children active while outdoors.  Know that we have tried to plead your case, but it has fallen on deaf ears.