Edgar Centre faces winter sport ‘jigsaw’

Back in play . . . Edgar Centre general manager Blair Crawford at the facility on Tuesday. A small group of Keenagers are playing table tennis on the courts below. PHOTO: JESSICA WILSON

Fitting winter sports back on the calendar while adhering to Covid-19 guidelines will be like a “jigsaw”, Edgar Centre general manager Blair Crawford says.

After closing its doors during Alert Levels 3 and 4, the facility is now open to the public, with restrictions in place.

“It’s good to have people back in the facility but it’s very quiet,” Mr Crawford said.

“We mainly do competitions and have big volumes of people coming through the building so now we’ve been operating with just gatherings of 10, which means there can be no organised sport or competitions.”

The facility was given permission to have more than 100 people inside from tomorrow, due to its large size and multiple entrances.

Contact tracing, social distancing and correct hygiene are still required.

“As long as our participants all abide by those things, we could safely have more than 100 playing in the sports hall.”

The Government’s announcement about increasing gatherings from 10 people to 100 also means the winter sports competitions can compete.

The season was due to start in April and would now likely run from late June until September, he said.

“There’s quite an excitement around the sports all returning.”

However, fitting everything back in while sticking to the Government guidelines would be a challenge.

“It’s been quite a jigsaw to put back together.”

Typically, it was not uncommon to have crowds of people entering and leaving the building at the same time.

“Now, because of our slight restrictions, it may be that there has to be some adjustments.

“We can’t get 500 people through on the court at one time.”

At this time of the year, the facility usually had “rock-solid bookings” but had lost big events so was relying on community sport, its “bread and butter”.

During Level 2, people had played basketball, table tennis and tennis.

Financially, the facility, which is run by the Dunedin Indoor Sports Venue Trust, was not making money but was able to retain all staff members thanks to the wage subsidy.