DEDHAM (CBS) – Starting at 5 p.m. on Friday, ice rinks across Massachusetts will be shut down for at least two weeks. The state says at least 30 clusters of COVID-19 have been linked to indoor ice hockey.
The Department of Public Health also says there are 108 confirmed cases of coronavirus in 60 different cities and towns connected to hockey practices and tournaments across Massachusetts.
The goal of the shutdown is to develop stronger protocols to keep players, families and staff safe.
In Dedham, most of those cases are children and teens. Officials say Dedham has had 25 confirmed cases in the last week.
But, the town says all sports programs have been following all of the proper guidelines. There are signs all over the Boch Ice Center in town, where it stresses limiting the amount of people inside at a time, wearing face masks and doing proper social distancing.
“It’s not that people are intentionally ignoring the guidelines and the recommendations, but you just might not think about it,” said Dedham Board of Health Chairwoman Leanne Jasset.
She believes this goes beyond the rink.
“So a bunch of kids carpool together to the hockey game,” said Jasset. “They are in the car and there are four or five of them not wearing masks and not doing it deliberately.”
The challenge is making people realize all of their decisions are a family matter.
“Maybe they’re riding their bikes together, maybe they are hanging out and having sleepovers on the weekend,” said Dedham Interim Health Director Bridget Sweet. “I think it’s all those anecdotal pieces that people don’t think about because they’re under 10 people or people they’re familiar with, and I think that’s the bigger message.”
The two-week pause on indoor ice hockey goes through at least November 7th. College and professional teams are exempt.