Six weeks after reopening, Mountain Rec eases rules at Gypsum Rec Center, Eagle Pool
GYPSUM — Starting Monday, Mountain Recreation will make a couple of changes that are sure to be popular with local kids, parents and workout enthusiasts.
Beginning Monday, masks will no longer be required while actively working out at the Gypsum Recreation Center and the number of people allowed during swimming sessions at the Eagle Pool will increase to 54.
Mountain Recreation Executive Director Janet Bartnik noted that throughout the COVID-19 pandemic the rec district staff has worked closely with public health officials regarding social distancing and sanitation protocols.
“The need to reopen facilities and start activities slowly was abundantly clear,” noted Bartnik in a written message posted on the Mountain Recreation website. “Our community has gradually moved through Eagle County’s transition trail map which has eased public health order restrictions on our daily life. Now, at six weeks into our reopening we have had the time to fully track and analyze daily use of our fitness floor, fitness classes along with lap and leisure swimming. With this data along with a continuous review process from Eagle County Public Health we feel confident adjusting some of our protocols to provide greater access to our services.”
Umasking the Gypsum Rec Center
The fitness floor at the Gypsum Recreation Center was the very first Mountain Recreation facility to reopen. But since that decision was announced in late May, people who were exercising at the facility were required to wear masks.
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“To be honest, when we first opened we didn’t get many complaints about the masks at all,” Bartnik said. “We wanted to do everything at Mountain Rec as safely as possible.”
But as time has gone on, the mask rule has gotten some pushback.
“We do understand it is a challenge, especially when you are on the treadmill and trekking pretty fast,” Bartnik said.
Bartnik said Mountain Rec recently received new social distancing guidance for sports which allow for face coverings to be removed while actively playing. The new rule means that while they are actively exercising, visitors don’t have to wear masks. While making their way through the center, masks are still required.
“As we continue to adapt to new information, we wanted to stay consistent and offer that same opportunity for visitors of the fitness floor,” she said.
To ensure that the recommended 6-foot social distance barrier can be maintained on the fitness floor, Mountain Rec has turned off every other machine. Additionally, users are asked to wipe down equipment after they are done and then staff members follow up with more intensive disinfection. While there are limited chances for surface transmission of the respiratory COVID-19 virus, Bartnik said these measures were put into place to provide an additional layer of protection for users.
“With this adjustment, it is more important than ever for guests to stay home if they are feeling sick, keep 6 feet of distance, and wipe down their equipment before and after each use while visiting us,” Bartnik added.
Ever since Mountain Recreation opened the Eagle Pool this summer, only 32 people have been allowed at the facility at one time. That number will increase to 54 starting Monday.
Bartnik said Mountain Red initially followed American Red Cross recommendations, which limited the number of users based on the surface area of the pool. But not everyone is in the water at the same time and the pool, deck and grass area can actually accommodate additional users.
“We have been watching the flow of visitors very closely over the past few weeks, consulting with public health and reviewing CDC guidelines for pools,” Bartnik said. “Our staff has decided we can increase the number of visitors per session to better meet the demand of our community while still adhering to social distancing guidelines.”
There has been a big demand for pool time. Users are asked to reserve sessions on the Mountain Rec website.
“All the daytime sessions are hitting capacity,” Bartnik said. “It will better meet the need if we up the number.”
The additional capacity also makes the Eagle Pool private sessions more affordable. For $500 per session, individuals, groups or businesses can rent the entire facility for a private party. The private rentals are available any evening other than Wednesday, when evening public swim hours are offered.
“We have never done private pool rentals before,” Bartnik said. “We think that upping the number to 54 people makes that even more affordable. It makes it less than $10 a person to come in and do that.”