Although not the first rec center to open in the nation, the University of Montana is one of the first. It will reopen its Fitness and Recreation Center on Monday, May 18.
“The sense I get from students and staff is they are happy to be coming back, but cautious,” said Steve Thompson, the director of Campus Recreation. “We have had very few cases here in Montana, but we all know that could change quickly if we are not careful and follow the guidelines provided to us by the Montana Department of Health and Human Services. We recognize we are not at the end of this process, but the beginning.”
There will be strict guidelines in place, as posted on the website. These include the below:
- The facility will be open Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. so professional staff will be present at all times.
- Masks will be worn by all staff. Patrons will be strongly encouraged to wear masks whenever possible.
- Patrons must wipe down equipment after using it. It is strongly encouraged to wipe down equipment prior to using as well. Disposable wipes will be available versus the normal towels.
- Six feet will be maintained between all equipment, meaning some cardio and weight equipment will be out of service.
- When using free weights, patrons must maintain six feet, except when a spotter is necessary.
- There will be no in-person indoor group fitness classes.
- The climbing wall, basketball courts and racquetball courts will remain closed.
- The Grizzly Pool will remain closed for repairs.
- The Outdoor Program will be open for rentals.
As the department and facility prepare to open, Thompson said the key has been to try and be as nimble as possible throughout the entire closure. Things are going to change quickly, and reopening doesn’t change that fact. “Support your staff by being transparent with any information you have, and provide them as much leeway as possible to adapt to an ever-changing landscape,” he said.