BOXBORO (CBS) – An online petition circulating with the message “Let The Figure Skaters Skate in Massachusetts” has garnered thousands of signatures, as ice skating rinks in the state are shut down for two weeks.
Chad Brennan, a coach at the Colonial Figure Skating Club in Boxboro, created the petition.
In 18 hours, it got 3,400 signatures and counting. “It’s incredible,” Brennan said. “I didn’t think there would be this much support for it and I’m so glad the skating community is rallying behind the petition because we all feel the same way.”
In the petition, Brennan writes, “unfortunately figure skaters have been lumped onto this new ordinance as well.” He details the safety measures in place for figure skaters at the rink he works, telling WBZ-TV, “I really felt that figure skaters were being punished unfairly for something that was not their fault. We have had no COVID cases in this rink in particular.”
Colonial Figure Skating Club Executive Director Patty Flanagan added, “figure skating is primarily an individual sport. The skaters maintain distance and it feels like being lumped with everyone who’s on the ice is a little bit unmindful of the differences between figure skating and ice hockey.”
The Colonial Figure Skating Club has 200 active skaters and roughly 40 coaches, with the new order having an economic impact on the club’s instructors.
Flanagan noted, “our coaches are all independent contractors so they go from having an income source to no income. That can be pretty devastating. They’re all just bouncing back from being shutdown in the spring.”
Coach Christina Welch added, “It’s really disappointing for the kids because now they have to take a couple weeks off and they have to stop their training so it’s really going to affect their progress.”
As of now, the rinks in Massachusetts are closed through Nov. 7, but Brennan worries it could be longer. “I fear that the two weeks will turn into a month, and the month will turn into two months, and we can’t afford that for our skaters, by any means,” he said.