Kenai City Hall on Feb. 20, 2020, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai City Hall on Feb. 20, 2020, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai facility restrictions begin to loosen

Some restrictions are being relaxed in response to decreasing COVID-19 case numbers

Some restrictions put on city facilities throughout the central peninsula are being relaxed in response to decreasing COVID-19 case numbers in those areas.

The City of Kenai first shuttered the doors of some city facilities in mid-November and extended the closures on Nov. 30. During the Jan. 6 meeting of the Kenai City Council, Kenai City Manager Paul Ostrander clarified which facilities had and hadn’t opened.

Kenai City Hall is open to the public, with city employees continuing to follow COVID-19 mitigation protocols. Members of the public are still able to provide payment for city utilities using the dropbox in front of City Hall, via the Xpressbillpay app or by phone at 1-800-720-6847.

The Kenai Municipal Airport Terminal, the Kenai Multipurpose Facility and Kenai parks, open spaces and trails are open to the public.

The Kenai Community Library will be closed through Jan. 18 but will continue to offer curbside service. The Kenai Senior Center also continues to be closed to the public while staff provides meals and services to seniors.

“It’s surprising that it will have been over two months that the library will have been closed by the time we reopen,” Ostrander said during the Jan. 6 meeting. “I did talk to Katja [Wolfe] today, and the staff is ready and willing to open on January 18 and they’re excited to get folks back in the library.”

In Soldotna, council member Justin Ruffridge is sponsoring legislation to be considered at their Jan. 13 meeting that would loosen some of the COVID-19 mitigation protocols implemented at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex that were approved by the council last month.

Among other things, Ruffridge’s proposed changes include reopening the complex for games and scrimmages, reopening public skate with a capacity limit and not requiring athletes to wear masks while on the ice.

The complex is currently operating under strict protocols that went into effect on Dec. 18. Those protocols include having the complex be closed for games and scrimmages, requiring masks for everyone on and off the ice and having team rooms be closed, among other things.

“This resolution would continue the process of reopening the Soldotna Sports Center by allowing greater access to our residents with mitigation policies in place,” wrote Ruffridge in a memo to the council. “Since our last meeting, we have seen decreasing case numbers and increasing access to vaccinations and therapeutics.”

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

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