Gypsum Recreation Center announces limited reopening
Facility's fitness area is open for adults, workout registration times are required
GYPSUM — The Gypsum Recreation Center reopened its doors Monday to eager users who have been barred from their regular workouts since mid-March.
But saying hello is very different from an enveloping bear hug. The center’s opening is predicated on some strict operating procedures and limited to fitness offerings. Kid-centric options such as the swimming pool, climbing wall, gymnastics center and gymnasium remain closed as are various programs offered through Mountain Recreation.
As noted on the Mountain Recreation website reopening landing page, “Whether you’re a business owner, employee, or patron it’s on us to adhere to strict social distancing protocols so we can begin to get back to life. We appreciate your patience as we build out a custom plan to adapt and transition into our current orders.”
“There is a group of people in our community who feel like the transition is moving too fast and a group that feels like it is not moving quickly enough,” said Scott Robinson, superintendent of business operations for Mountain Rec. “We are hearing both sides, just like the county is.”
While Eagle County transitions to its new public health orders, Robinson said Mountain Recreation’s leaders felt it was important to give residents an active outlet.
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“We have opened up our 7,000 square foot fitness floor,” he noted. “Thank goodness we did a remodel a couple of years ago because that made it very adaptable for social distancing.”
Visits to the rec center will be provided free of charge until June 1 for everyone in the community. Only a set number of users will be allowed in the facility at any one time and Mountain Recreation said its staff will meticulously clean, disinfect, and sanitize the facility and all its common spaces, equipment, structures, and fixtures. Visitors must be at least 13 years old and ages 13 and 14 must be accompanied by an adult. Child watch is not currently available at the facility.
Keep your distance, wear your mask
Robinson said the Gypsum Recreation Center fitness area has been divided into different sections including the cardio corner, bike fitness area and free weights section.
“The biggest thing we are trying to get across to people is you need to reserve a place in your section ahead of time on-line, and you need to stay in your section,” Robinson said. “We decided to do that because we didn’t want to have to turn people away at the front door because we had too many people inside the building.”
Folks who come to the center to work out must wear a mask, Robinson continued. “We, as an organization after conversation with public health, decided to require people to wear masks inside the facility,” he said. “We have already heard from folks that they don’t like the face mask idea. We hear you.”
Robinson noted Mountain Rec will continue to evaluate the mask regulation, but for the present, he said it seemed to be the most responsible decision.
“Not all workouts have to be hardcore cardio,” he continued, saying the mental health benefit of getting outside of the home and into the routine of a gym visit is equally important.
“We are trying to provide those opportunities as much as we can. We are just trying to provide some normality for folks because it isn’t sustainable to just stay at home,” Robinson said.
What about the kids?
While adults are getting a recreational reprieve under the new public health order, the issue is still unresolved for local kids.
“The question on every parent’s mind is will there be summer camps?” said Robinson.
Mountain Rec, along with the Vail Recreation District and the town of Avon, is participating in a county task force to create a recreation reopening road map. For Mountain Rec, an important question is whether its Rec Kids program — a state-licensed summertime day camp— can be offered this year.
“We are very close to finding out from public health if we will be able to operate those camps,” Robinson said.
Then there is the question of sports and adventure camps as well as summer sports leagues. Robinson said Mountain Recreation is working with county and state officials to figure out guidelines for each individual activity. Some are more adaptable to social distancing. Others, such as summer basketball camps, are more challenging.
Mountain Recreation has targeted June 15 as an opening date for adult softball and hopes to offer its youth baseball/softball programs beginning June 22.
“Over the course of the next couple of weeks, just like we did with the rec center, we will get a dialed-in plan for that,” Robinson said.
For now, the Eagle Pool and Ice Rink and Edwards Field House facilities remain closed and swimming pool reopenings are not likely in the foreseeable future, Robinson said.
On the business side, Mountain Recreation has opened registration for programs it hopes to offer this year and if cancellations happen, households will get program credits. He noted Mountain Recreation will communicate program news as soon as the plan is formulated.
“We aren’t going to stop planning and we are not going to stop trying to find a balance. This can all change, but this is where we are now and this is what we hope to do,” said Robinson. “The biggest thing we are seeing is just the recognition that the recreation programming we provide does a lot for our community.”