More city facilities reopening for spring break

·4 min read

More city facilities in Richmond will be reopening in advance of next week, when most public schools will close for spring break.

Fitness centres at Cambie and Hamilton community centres will re-open, joining the five other facilities already in operation across Richmond (City Centre, South Arm, Thompson and West Richmond community centres, and the Minoru Centre for Active Living). All locations are operating with increased safety measures and physical distancing in place.

“Richmond has had a slow and cautious approach to reopening facilities and program offerings,” explained city Coun. Linda McPhail. “I am sure that this will be our continued approach as we wait for the provincial health orders to be updated.”

She noted that in addition to the “limited” selection of recreation programs being offered, Watermania is scheduled to re-open next Monday (March 15).

Kristen Close, manager of Community Recreation Services, said while the types of activities are currently restricted by the orders of Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, “the order (still) permits us to offer many of the physical activities such as day camps, public swimming and swim lessons, fitness centre registered visits, and low intensity group fitness classes among many others.”

McPhail said all facilities and programs will continue to adhere to strict health and safety guidelines, but activities may be increased or decreased based on demand and public safety.

“This has been very hard on community centres and associations and the (greater) community as well,” she said, adding she misses her in-person fitness class.

McPhail said to further support public safety and reduce the spread of COVID-19, the city requires wearing masks in all indoor city-operated facilities (a policy that came into effect Nov. 1, 2020).

“This requirement offers an added measure of safety in an effort to continue to enhance and protect the safety and well-being of the community,” she said.

But according to the city’s mask protocols, customers using a facility for physical activity (including fitness, martial arts, dance, sports or swimming) or child care programs (including preschool, out of school care or daycamps) do not need to wear a mask during their activity. They must wear one when entering, leaving and moving around the building.

This means that people using the gym independently are not required to wear a mask as long as they are physically distanced from other gym users. Some machines or equipment have been taped off or removed to ensure there is distance between people exercising.

During a session with a client, personal trainers must also wear a mask at all times and maintain physical distancing, according to city spokesperson Clay Adams. If a client requires assistance or support from the trainer to use or transition between equipment, they must also wear a mask.

At fitness centres, change rooms and showers are not available so people must arrive ready to begin exercising. Washroom access will be provided if necessary.

Watermania’s reopening through March 26 will be limited, with four sessions offered each day: 1:15 to 2:30 p.m., 2:45 to 4 p.m., 4:15 to 5:30 p.m., and 5:45 to 7 p.m. During those times, the 25-metre lane swimming, wave pool, hot tub and fitness centre will be open for use. As of March 27, Watermania will introduce a separate spring schedule with options to use the lane swimming space, wave pool, slides and hot tubs, attend Aquafit deep water classes or use the fitness centre.

For Watermania, registration for the following week’s sessions begins online at 6 a.m. and by phone at 8:30 a.m. the Monday before. If you are unable to attend your pre-booked Watermania visit, cancel by calling Watermania at 604-448-5353 or the registration call centre at 604-276-4300.

To register online for a city facility, visit richmond.ca/register or call the registration call centre at 604-276-4300, Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sessions can be booked starting at 10 a.m. on the Monday one week prior.

In all cases, people should arrive no more than five minutes before their scheduled session start time.

Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Richmond Sentinel