After being closed for four months, the Yukon-Kuskokwim Fitness Center is reopening on March 1 to people with proof of full COVID-19 vaccination. Fitness Center Facility Director Stacey Reardon lays out what you need to know to use the facility.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Stacey Reardon: We will be open beginning March 1 for adults who have been fully vaccinated. So that means that they've got both doses of their vaccine, and that second dose has been at least two weeks ago. So for instance, if you want to come in on Monday, Mar. 1, your second dose of your vaccine should have been on or before Feb. 15.
KYUK: How are you checking to ensure that people have been vaccinated?
Reardon: So at check in, everybody needs to show their CDC vaccination card and a photo ID.
KYUK: Since only fully vaccinated people are allowed into the facility, does that mean no one under age 16?
Reardon: Correct. So at this time, because youth aren't able to be vaccinated, we are only open to adults age 16 and older who have been fully vaccinated.
KYUK: What about parents who want to bring their children to the pool to swim?
Reardon: Eventually we will get there, but we're not there yet. We're reviewing the information on a daily basis. And as soon as it is determined that it is safe for us to bring our kids back in the building, we will absolutely do that. We're looking at a couple of options for that right now, but this is just our initial opening and we're going to open in phases as we have throughout this.
KYUK: What will be the mask policy when inside the building?
Reardon: Everybody needs to wear masks all the time. And there's only two exceptions to that: while swimming and while showering. But we need masks in between those activities. So for instance, if you're going to swim and sit in the hot tub, you're going to come in, you can take your mask off while you take a shower, put your mask back on to walk out to the pool deck, take your mask off, hop in the pool, have your swim, put your mask back on, hop in the spa, and we do need to require that the masks stay on in the spa. And for anybody that's not actively swimming but, for instance, is doing water aerobics, we will ask that they wear their masks during that activity as well.
KYUK: Will the number of people allowed inside the building be limited?
Reardon: Yes. We are going for about 40% of our regular capacity right now.
KYUK: Will there be group classes?
Reardon: We are working on a schedule for group fitness classes right now, and we are hoping to be able to start those, probably not Monday, but hopefully toward the end of the week.
KYUK: Are employees required to be vaccinated?
Reardon: We can't require our employees to be vaccinated. We are strongly encouraging it and most of our employees have been vaccinated, but legally we can't require that. Which is another reason that masking and social distancing are so important.
KYUK: And it can't be required because the vaccines are authorized under emergency use?
Reardon: Correct. Yeah, we can't require them as an employer.
KYUK: For people who had a membership prior to the pandemic causing the fitness center to shut down, what's the status of those memberships?
Readon: So the day we closed the doors, we put all of the memberships on hold. And under this current use structure we're only going to reactivate the memberships of the people who come in and want to use the facility. So if you've been vaccinated and you want to use the facility, when you come in we will reactivate your membership. If you're not vaccinated yet, or you're not personally comfortable using the facility yet, we are not going to reactivate your membership until you come back to us or until all the restrictions go away.
KYUK: Has any new equipment, like air filters, been installed?
Reardon: So we have a really good air filtration system already. That's one of the perks to being a relatively new facility, so we haven't done any new air filtration. But we have added some new equipment to our sanitation. We have electrostatic sprayers that we'll be using to spray down equipment, which also does get some of the droplets that are in the air as well. And we also have UV sanitation lights that will be set up to sanitize the areas in the evening. So during the use of electrostatic sprayers, we will have to close down areas in order to spray. So I do recommend people check our schedule. We do have a couple of times during the day that certain areas will be closed to use so that we can get in there and clean.
KYUK: Stacey, thanks so much.
Reardon: Thank you Anna Rose.
- Patrons will be required to keep 6 feet from others when inside the facility.
- Anyone experiencing even mild COVID-19 symptoms is asked not to visit the fitness center until being symptom free for 72 hours or after having received a negative COVID-19 test.
- The fitness center will require anyone who travels outside of Bethel to not visit the facility for seven days after returning to Bethel, and to receive a negative COVID-19 test after those seven days before using the facility.
- Spa use is limited to 10 minutes per person.