BRUNSWICK, Ohio – Yes, it’s open. The Brunswick Recreation and Fitness Center, like all similar facilities in Ohio closed the evening of March 16 due to Covid-19 restrictions. On June 1, the doors opened again and from the reaction so far, everyone is so glad to have a place to be among other people – at a safe distance – and to be exercising again.
“I think it was important for the mental health of a lot of people,” said Taylor Petkovsek, recreation superintendent. “Those who have come back say they missed us and they seem to have an extra spring in their stop when they come in. But many people still don’t realize we’ve reopened and we want to invite them back.”
Both Petkovsek and John Piepsny, the city’s parks and recreation director, were furloughed along with all other employees of the center when it was shut down. “We are all so glad to be here,” she said.
Both the health and safety of members is tops on the list of the comeback. “We’ve followed the governor’s Responsible Restart guidelines to a T,” she said, adding, “We’re actually over cleaning!”
She said that when the health department came for a walkthrough before opening, they provided a lot of helpful hints. Using spaces throughout the building — part of the first-floor gymnasium, the dance studio — all exercise equipment has been moved so they can be 8 to 10-feet apart. That more than meeting the 6-foot distance requirement. In the pool, the lap lanes are the guides – keeping swimmers 6-feet apart – with only one person or a small family group in each lane. “I think I’ve seen maybe 15 people in the pool,” she said, “and that included a dad and his three children.”
Deep cleaning and sanitizing is ongoing, she said. That could be evidenced as soon as one enters the doors.
There was Ron Born, masked up with a sanitizing sprayer on his back, long house in hand cleaning the arrival area, steps and floors. One person is assigned to that job each shift, Petkovsek said and they are actively looking for another person to hire.
One group of people who missed the center the most were senior citizens and now, Silver Sneakers, is back. As you come into the main entrance and look to the big auditorium at the right, there were about 10 seniors exercising with the leader on the state. “We found a way to do this safely and have marked places on the floor for each person, so they can remain safely apart. Each of the people was wearing a mask as well. And that seemed to be the case in most of the members we witnessed.
Petkovsek said, “People can expect the same great customer service when they come back.”
Piepsny said that they are happy to be welcoming people into the facility again. He noted that the Medina County Senior Citizen Coordinator is back in the office at the center three days a week and that physical therapy is open, as well. He also noted that the parks and recreation budget has been hit hard by the effects of Covid-19, as have almost all businesses in the country.
“Our annual half-price membership drive begins in August and we’re looking forward to more people joining,” he said. While there are some limitations, which are clearly posted and are available on the city’s web site, “We are hoping all of our current members are aware that we’re open again and will enjoy coming here.”
Hours of operation right now are 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fridays; and 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays and Sunday.
For more information, visit brunswick.oh.us/recreation/ or call 330-273-8000.
— to www.cleveland.com