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BMO Centre in London, Ont., closing temporarily due to limit of 10 people indoors

London's BMO Centre, located at Rectory and Little Simcoe streets.
London's BMO Centre, located at Rectory and Little Simcoe streets. Google Maps

An indoor sports centre had to make the tough call to close down once again after the London and Middlesex region moved into the red zone.

As of Feb. 16, the region is in red-control of Ontario’s COVID-19 response framework, which allows a maximum of 10 people in indoor sports and recreational fitness classes.

The president of the BMO Centre, Tom Partalas tells 980 CFPL they were advised by the Middlesex-London Health Unit that the centre is permitted 10 people on the main field and another 10 people on the expansion field.

“We’re devastated,” he said. “It’s not feasible for us to open the doors because it costs a lot of money to run the facility.”

Read more: Coronavirus: U Sports cancels remaining national championships in 2021 because of pandemic

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The centre, located at Rectory and Little Simcoe streets, has six indoor fields that were used for soccer practices.

Partalas says it would’ve been more reasonable to allow a maximum of 10 people per field instead of the entire facility.

“Another option is, if we’re allowed, we should be able to (run) like worship (facilities) where they can operate at 30 per cent of its total capacity,” he said. “That would really help us out.”

“When you have a place like ours with 160,000 square feet of space and you only allow 10 people, it doesn’t make any sense.”

BMO Centre says it plans to reopen once the region enters the less restrictive orange zone, which allows up to 50 people in indoor sports and recreational fitness classes.

Read more: Marches planned in Alberta communities asking for a return to youth sports

Until then, the sports centre will remain closed as it did for most of last year and this year.

“Since March 13 of last year (until now), we’ve only operated eight weeks out of the whole year (from) Oct. 20 to Dec. 13,” the president said.

“That had a great impact on our finances because we still have to pay our mortgages, property taxes and utilities,” he sighed.

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Partalas says he’s reached out to Ontario Premier Doug Ford along with a few Ministers to see if there’s anything they can do to help the centre.

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