File photo by Red Deer Advocate

Town Of Sylvan Lake temporarily lays-off 30 staff members

Thirty part-time staff members at the NexSource Centre have been laid off until January

Thirty part-time employees from the NexSource Centre have been temporarily laid-off due to the new COVID-19 regulations.

With many events and programs cancelled at the NexSource Centre for at least the next three weeks, it was decided the best course of action was to temporarily layoff many part-time staff members.

The part-time staff were given notice they would be laid-off from Nov. 27 until Jan. 4.

“We don’t normally have a lot happening during the Christmas break anyway, so we decided to extend the layoffs until the beginning of January, as it didn’t make sense to bring them back for a few days,” Sean Durkin, director of recreation, tourism and culture, said.

Danny Scott, director of people services, says each person was walked through applying for Employment Insurance, which has been updated in light of the COVID-19 pandemic to not have a wait time.

“Right now there is no wait time for EI and everyone gets a flat rate of $500 each week,” said Scott.

“In some cases they are actually getting more on EI than working part-time right now,” added Durkin.

The staffing change also reflects the change in hours at the NexSource Centre. Durkin says he is looking at reducing the hours the NexSource Centre is open during this time.

“Our staff is a paramount concern, and it is important to us that they are taken care of,” Scott said.

Durkin added, many other changes are taking place at the NexSource Centre to follow public health mandates.

These include the closure of amenities, like the lounge, and the concession stand – once the current product has been sold through, as well as the cancellation of in-person fitness classes.

A maximum capacity has been set for use of the walking track, as well as the family skate and swim sessions, all of which one has to pre-register for.

The NexSource Centre has added Zoom fitness classes. From Nov. 30 to Dec. 17, drop-in fitness classes moved online, to encourage everyone to stay home when possible, while still staying active.

The NexSource Centre has also added family ice rentals. This means a family can rent the skating rink in the NexSource Centre for an hour. Everyone participating during a rental time must be from the same household.

“We are going to keep our outdoor rinks open, and we are just looking into how we can best facilitate that,” said Durkin.

The pool is not available for rentals at this time.

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