Rinks shuttered for two weeks due to clusters

In an inauspicious early fall turn for hockey and skating enthusiasts, Massachusetts residents awoke Friday morning to news that state officials overnight ordered skating rinks to close. The closures are effective on Friday at 5 p.m., and are currently scheduled to last until 12:01 a.m. on Nov. 7, due to multiple COVID-19 clusters "connected to indoor hockey."

The Department of Public Health, which issued the order, which includes an exemption for college and professional programs. State public health officials said there have been at least 30 clusters "at rinks throughout the state following games, practices and tournaments."

The clusters involve residents from more than 50 communities, with two or more confirmed cases in each and 108 total confirmed cases, accord ing to the DPH.

"This pause will allow for the development of stronger COVID-19 protocols to further protect players, families, coaches, arena staff and other participants, as well as communities surrounding hockey rinks," the DPH said.