Winterfest opens after a delay to slow the spread of COVID-19

VIDEO: Winterfest to still happen with some changes

TULSA, Okla. — The 13th annual Arvest Winterfest kicks off at the BOK Center in downtown Tulsa on Monday, which is later than initially planned.

Earlier this month, organizers announced it would delay the opening until Nov. 30 in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“We plan to keep working closely with Dr. Dart and the Tulsa Health Department and will continue to make adjustments as recommended by them to make sure we provide our guests with the safest experience possible,” said BOK Center Interim general manager Evan Falat.

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The announcement comes after Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum asked Tulsans to “take it easy” for at least 10 days as many will be around family for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Winterfest will bring its ice skating to the ice rink inside of the BOK instead of its usual outdoor Third Street location.

“While this might seem counter-intuitive, the event organizers have placed a heavy focus on the health and safety of its guests so they’ll be able to safely experience the magic of the holiday season,” organizers said in a press release.

The BOK’s ice capacity is 8,000 square feet larger than the location on Third Street.

The 13th annual Arvest Bank Winterfest presented with CommunityCare returns to Downtown Tulsa November 21 - January 3!...

Posted by Arvest Winterfest on Monday, November 9, 2020

Venue managers ASM Global’s “VenueShield” plan will be meant to keep the facility safe amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Here are the measures ASM Global plans to have in place:

  • An online ticket reservation system, which will be used to help with social distancing. Guests will need to go online to www.tulsawinterfest.com to reserve a date/time to skate. Each reservation allows the skater 75 minutes of ice time once their ticket is scanned.
  • BOK Center’s public capacity will be drastically capped at a socially responsible percentage in line with the Tulsa Health Department and Center for Disease Control’s recommendations.
  • No cash or checks will be accepted this season.
  • Everyone (10 & older) is required to wear a face-covering at all times while inside the venue, which mirrors Tulsa’s citywide mandate.
  • All staff members will be temperature screened prior to entering BOK Center.
  • All staff members will be required to wear face masks inside BOK Center, along with any other personal protective equipment necessary dependent upon job function.
  • Social distancing is promoted to the best extent possible in all areas. When social distancing cannot be achieved, steps will be taken to install physical barriers.
  • Ample hand sanitizing stations are placed throughout the facility. High touchpoint areas (such as door handles, elevator buttons, toilets and sinks) are treated with continuous and enhanced cleaning along with all occupied spaces.
  • ASM Tulsa staff has been trained and will be actively utilizing new methods of sanitation, wiping down surfaces after use, frequent hand washing, changing out masks regularly, etc.
  • Throughout the venue, signage related to physical distancing, avoiding touching one’s face, wearing a face covering and signage encouraging frequently sanitizing and washing hands can be found.
  • Safety barriers at all food & beverage points of sale inside the venue

Anyone who isn’t looking to skate can get into the event for free as long as the capacity restrictions are followed.

Tickets go on sale on Nov. 16 at 10 a.m. and the season opens on Nov. 30 at 5 p.m. with festive lights and sounds at the opening ceremony.

“Oklahoma’s tallest Christmas tree," horse-drawn carriage rides, Sundays with Santa and the Winterfest Express train are among the several attractions to be featured on select days of Winterfest.