After a long summer and fall, it’s finally time to lace up your skates: the Monona Bank RiverRink is officially open for the season.
Powered by the Monona Parks department and nestled neatly in Grand Crossing Park, Dane County’s famous ice skating rink will be open from Nov. 25 through Feb. 28.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, rink staff said patrons should be prepared for the RiverRink experience to be a little different this year.
“It definitely looks different than we would normally anticipate. Last season you could just walk up and skate, but now it’s very regimented” said Missy Miller, recreation supervisor and aquatic director for the city of Monona.
Social distancing requirements and new and improved cleaning protocols are among the rink’s COVID-19 routine.
Miller said that reservations are required this year. People can reserve hour and a half time slots. Guests can pre-reserve a time slot on the rink’s website using a system that kicked off Nov. 15.
In order to limit face-to-face contact as much as possible, payment must be made online at the time of purchase.
“The best bang for your buck this year is a season pass,” Miller said. “For a one-time, up-front purchase, you can reserve as many time slots as you want.”
Without a season pass, admission is $4 without skate rental and $9 with skate rental. Patrons can register for their desired time slot anywhere from two weeks in advance to the day of.
Following a Nov. 20 Executive Order from Gov. Evers that enforces limits on indoor and outdoor gatherings, the rink will be a fully outdoor experience this year with a capacity limit of 20 skaters at a time.
Additionally, all guests at the rink will be required to wear a mask.
While the new restrictions may put a damper on the traditional winter pastime, Miller said rink staff have some jolly tricks up their sleeve to make the experience a little more magical.
On Dec. 12, the rink is hosting an ugly holiday sweater party for patrons who reserve time slots on that date. This event is likely to fill up quickly, Miller said.
“We’ve spent the summer working hard to plan for the safe execution of Monona Bank RiverRink during the COVID-19 pandemic, and are excited to welcome you all back,” the City of Monona wrote in a statement on its website.