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Sep. 21, 2020 | Monday
Local News
NOTL Sailing Club in uncharted waters
NOTL Sailing Club general manager Ed McIlroy stands at the front gate of the NOTL Sailing Club. (Jessica Maxwell)

The Niagara-on-the-Lake Sailing club re-opened the gates at 8 a.m. on May 14 with a new COVID Code of Conduct in effect. 

“There is a lot of different correspondence regarding how to open this past Saturday, which we adhered to,” Ed McIlroy, NOTL Sailing Club’s General Manager said. 

“There is a code of conduct that has been issued to all of our members as to how to enter the yard and how to act upon entry,” McIlroy said. 

He says there is a lot of communication between the sailing club and Ontario Boating and Ontario Sailing Association that are monitoring the provincial mandate. 

Physical distancing is required for people not of the same household and no gathered groups of more than five people are permitted. Clubhouses and decks are closed until further notice. 

Masks and latex gloves are encouraged, especially in the washroom. It is encouraged that people bring their own hand sanitizer but there is some available. Only one washroom is open at this time and is cleaned and sanitized professionally twice daily. 

“As with the town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, restrooms were an issue,” McIlroy said.

“We’ve found the best way to tackle that is to be able to provide a single bathroom, not one of our larger ones with showers and things. They remain closed.” 

The notice also reminds people that NOTL by-law officers will be monitoring the club and fines are still in effect for those who don’t comply with safety regulations. 

Memberships help the club in monitoring the amount of people present at one time. 

“Saturday being a beautiful day was the first test, because of the anxiousness of all,” McIlroy said.  

“It went very well. It wasn’t too overrun here and everyone seemed to be adhering to the code of conduct put in place.” 

“The challenge has been to just keep everyone informed,” McIlroy said. “People are very anxious in the spring to get their boats ready.” 

He says up until the recent mandates put in place by the federal government it was challenging to give people the information they were looking for. 

“Our facility being in Niagara-on-the-Lake means there’s also municipal guidelines that we adhere to,” McIlroy said. 

“We didn’t waver from them and we were in conversation with the town of Niagara-on-the-Lake senior staff and council members and we all kind of worked along the same line in terms of opening this up properly.” 

“Hopefully we only open up once and we won’t have any set-backs,” he said.

“We’re very cautious about it, as the town and I’m sure Ontario, Canada and the rest of the world is. 

“Everything is early here and in the infancy stages in terms of opening up,” he said. 

Currently programs including the learn to sail and race program are postponed. McIlroy said if things start to go in the right direction, that could change. 

“We haven’t done the hard and cold, that’s it, we’re done, that’s not happening under any circumstance,” he said, “just postponement.” 

So far everyone is adhering to the new code of conduct put in place at the NOTL Sailing Club.  

“It’s going as well as to be expected,” McIlroy said. “People are happy and there’s smiles out there again, some boats getting ready and they’re going to go on the water and salvage some kind of season here.” 

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