Fairfield rec center to reopen with new set of rules

Patrons will be required to wear mask, can't use Roosevelt building or participate in fitness classes.

FAIRFIELD — The Roosevelt Recreation Center in Fairfield has announced a new set of rules for patrons wishing to use its facility, which will open on Friday, May 15. The rec center plans several phases of reopening, with this being the first.

The new rules are all designed to limit the spread of coronavirus, and include closing portions of the facility, eliminating classes, and requiring users to wear masks.

The rec center will assume new hours on Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. It will no longer be open on the weekends, at least until further notice. Furthermore, only the Cambridge SportsPlex portion of the building will be open. That includes the walking track, cardio equipment, one squat rack near the walking track and a limited number of cable weight machines. It also means the entire Roosevelt building (the former school), the indoor pool, sauna and hot tub will remain closed.

All weight rooms and fitness classrooms are off limits. Even the locker rooms and lounge areas will be closed.

“Personal training and fitness classes are not permitted until further notice for reasons of safety, space

limitations, and social distancing requirements,” the rec center announced in a news release.

Another new policy will be that patrons must present a valid photo ID to use the facility, which will now be limited to residents of Jefferson County. The ID must state your name, show your photo and show your current Jefferson County address.

All visitors and staff will be required to wear a mask, covering the mouth and nose, at all times while within the facility. All patrons will be required to maintain a distance of 6 feet from all others.

Unattended children under the age of 15 will not be allowed to enter. Those who enter with an adult must remain with that adult at all times (social distancing rules do not apply to children, but they will be required to wear a mask). Patrons must clean and sanitize all equipment they use, and wash their hands frequently.

The rec center will not check out equipment to guests, who must bring their own ball, racket, etc. No nets or temporary installation equipment will be allowed, either. Furthermore, no group activities or games will be allowed.

Guests who need to drink water must supply their own water bottle since drinking fountains will not be in service.

Recreation superintendent Erin Smith said she and the rec center staff have already moved exercise equipment to accommodate future phases of reopening.

“The closure of the Roosevelt Building is largely due to the fact that even with equipment as far apart as we’re able to move it, it’s still impossible to walk between equipment and not be within 6 feet of another patron using equipment,” Smith said. “During phase 1, we’re reopening limited weight equipment so that we can be assured of our ability to enforce distancing, cleaning, and sanitizing requirements before considering moving on to phase 2. Fitness classes are temporarily closed for the same reasons.

Smith said the rec center staff are aware that a photo ID requirement will cause frustration among some patrons, but added that it was a necessary step to ensure a universally reliable method of enforcing the rule on only allowing Jefferson County residents to use the facility.

Smith said the drinking fountain will be disabled, and the water bottle filling station will be hands-free. She said it would be ideal for patrons to bring their own water from home, “but we certainly feel it’s important to have water available.”