The Student Recreation and Wellness Center will reopen to a limited 25% capacity June 8 with abbreviated hours, adjusted policies and limited programs and services.
The SRWC’s capacity is 500 occupants, so a maximum of 125 participants will be allowed at any given time.
Joel Swedlund, executive director of the SRWC, said the university has been planning for a safe reopening since it was forced to close.
“We weren’t sure how long the closure would last,” Swedlund said. “We didn’t know if the pandemic would hit quickly and then dissipate within a month or if it would be longer. Within a few days of closure, we began thinking about how we might reopen.”
The SRWC will adhere to the Minimum Standard Health Protocols for gyms and exercise facilities provided by the state of Texas, Swedlund said.
It will screen employees for symptoms of possible COVID-19 and sending home those who are symptomatic. Other protocols will emphasize the availability of hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes being readily available, spacing equipment to maintain social distancing and requiring usage of gloves by patrons.
“Social distancing will be expected, and it’s possible we will open in phases,” Swedlund said. “Some spaces not conducive to social distancing may not be open at first. Other spaces will open with changes to ensure the safest possible experience.”
New hours have been adjusted to protect individuals with higher risk of severe illness. Starting June 8, the SRWC will be open from 10 a.m.- 8 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. Saturday. However, the first hour will be restricted to only at-risk individuals.
Gyms A and B will temporarily house pin-selected weight equipment, while Gym D will be open only for group exercise classes. Racquetball courts are open but may be used by only one individual at a time or by no more than four members of the same household. The track is also open, but members are advised not to be side-by-side.
Meanwhile, the outdoor basketball court is already open but limited to four participants at once.
Pools, the bouldering wall, Gym C and Group Exercise Studios will remain closed. Meanwhile, some exercise equipment is currently off-line to ensure social distancing.
The SRWC is mandating its members to wear gloves and recommends wearing a mask, except while engaging in high intensity cardio workouts. It is also asking members to bring a full water bottle because the drinking fountains will be closed.
The decision to reopen has derived from a collaboration between the SRWC staff and senior university administrators. While Gov. Greg Abbott allowed all gyms to reopen Monday, he is leaving it up to the administrations to determine what makes the most sense for their particular situation.