OTTAWA -- Skaters can take the ice at the Minto Arena on Thursday for the first time in over two months.

The privately-run arena on Lancaster Road has received approval from the Ontario Government to re-open during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Minto Arena left the international ice surface in for the spring and summer.

Speaking on TSN 1200 Wednesday morning, Minto Skating Centre general manager Scott Lawryk said the demand for ice time has been “off the hook.”

“We started the booking process over the weekend, and things are almost full up for the next two weeks.”

The Minto Skating Club can only have up to five people on the ice at one time, and everyone in the building must maintain proper physical distancing.

Lawryk says the club is asking skaters to arrive at the rink in full equipment, “Hopefully what it is is you’re coming in and putting your skates on and hitting the ice.”

Lawryk says the arena has received interest for ice time from “all walks of life”, including NHL players and figure skaters.

“Skating coaches are trying to get some of the semi-pro and pro players on the ice. There’s people who run hockey training and skills, and there’s just people who want to get in an hour on the ice.”

A greeter will meet everyone at the front door to explain the physical distancing rules in the Minto Skating Club.  Skaters will enter the arena through one door, skate onto the rink at one door and exit through another door.

Lawyrk insists the Minto Skating Centre is taking all the precautions to protect players and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We wouldn’t be doing this if we didn’t think we could do it in a safe and secure manner,” Lawryk tells TSN 1200.

“Obviously during this time we wouldn’t want to risk anything like that. We feel we’ve taken the proper precautions and put the proper steps in place to be able to do this safely.”