Coffee@KYUK, May 11: Y-K Fitness Center Reopens With New Rules

May 11, 2020

The pool at the Yukon-Kuskokwim Fitness Center in Bethel.
Credit Dean Swope/KYUK

The Yukon-Kuskokwim Fitness Center reopened on May 9, with a set of new rules to protect the staff and patrons. About 50 people showed up the first weekend. Stacey Reardon is the center’s facility director. She and staff have developed rules that they hope will keep people safe while not being overly restrictive.

“I feel we’ve reached a good balance, but that balance is very dependent on our patrons following the policies we put in place,” Reardon said.

The first rule is that people who are feeling ill should stay away and see a health care provider. One of the big changes for people at the fitness center is that everyone will have to wear masks from the moment they enter until they leave, with a couple of key exceptions.

“In the fitness areas and, of course, while people are swimming, we don’t require the masks. But as soon as they hop out of the pool or leave those fitness areas, we do ask that they put those masks back on right away,” Reardon said.

Because of the heavy breathing involved while working out, people will have to stay 10 feet apart from each other, not just 6 feet. Checking in to the center may also take a little more time, because staff are trying to keep accurate records so that if there is another case of COVID-19 in Bethel, the fitness center can provide information to help trace what contacts that person had.

There are also limits on the number of people who can be in any specific area, and signs explaining the rules. There are also buckets of sanatizing wipes throughout the fitness center to clean surfaces on equipment before and after use.

“So if everybody can use those wipes and hit everything that they’ve touched, that’s going to help us all to stay safe,” Reardon said.

The shower curtains are also gone. This is because it is too hard to keep them clean with all the people using and touching them. Reardon suggests that patrons shower in swimsuits if they are modest.

The information about rules and procedures are on the website Staff will be tracking the number of people in various spaces throughout the day, and letting people know if an area is available or already at capacity when they arrive. There is one thing that many people look forward to using that will be closed, however: the hot tub.

“I am very sad the state mandates do require that we keep the hot tub closed. I was looking forward to getting back in there,” Reardon said.

Reardon said that classes will resume inside the facility, along with the outside classes and events, dependent on having enough instructors.

The fitness center will be open from 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays, and from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends. Anyone 16 years and younger must be accompanied by someone who is 18 or older.