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Several Calgary recreational facilities preparing to open as part of Phase 2 relaunch

Several Calgary rec centres preparing to open under Phase 2 of relaunch
WATCH: With gyms and fitness centres given the green light to open as of June 12, several private facilities like arenas and gyms are getting set to reopen. Adam MacVicar reports.

With gyms and fitness facilities included in the second stage of Alberta’s economic relaunch strategy, several recreational facilities in Calgary are preparing to open their doors within the next two weeks.

The doors at the Crowchild Twin Arena will be open to the public on June 19, and arena staff are expecting the ice to be busy.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Gyms, pools, indoor fitness can open June 12 for Stage 2 of Alberta relaunch

The first ice time on Friday morning at 6:45 a.m. is already sold out.

“All of our ice sold fairly quickly, and we’re down to roughly 40 spots left for the rest of the summer,” arena general manager John Helfrich said. “So we rented about 650 ice times in three days.”

The arena’s opening is accompanied by a list of guidelines to follow, including limits on the number of people inside the change rooms, with overflow space for those change rooms in the stands, as well as more stringent cleaning and directional arrows on the floors to encourage physical distancing.

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According to arena staff, parents dropping their kids off for hockey practice are being asked to not come inside to limit the number of people walking around.

“We’re going to be ready for anything that comes our way as far as far as what’s new and what we have to do differently,” Helfrich said. “Other than that, we’re hoping to run as regular.”

READ MORE: Hinshaw reiterates Alberta health orders stand as 48 new COVID-19 cases identified Wednesday

Operations are also expected to be running as regular as possible at Breathe Parkour in northeast Calgary, with health guidelines in place.

The parkour gym is opening its doors on Monday for a camp, and then resuming classes on Tuesday.

“We’re going to be encouraging social distancing, we’re going to be doing more intermittent cleaning. But we are sports and rec, people are going to be moving and breathing heavy, so masks aren’t encouraged,” Breathe Parkour CEO Matthew Talbot said.

However, the classes will have reduced numbers and will be limited to certain parts of the gym, with a staggered schedule.

While there’s still some work to be done to prepare the gym, there is excitement for members to return after months of being cooped up inside.

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“We know that one of the biggest challenges during the lockdown was mental health — people need social interaction, they need to get outside, and I think this is going to be a really big step in the right direction,” Talbot said. “We also understand there is going to be some residual anxiety out there, so we’re being very flexible with our members on how they return.”

READ MORE: Parks Canada says camping to resume in national parks on June 22 by reservation only

Meanwhile, the City of Calgary is working on re-opening some of its facilities to the public.

Last week, Mayor Naheed Nenshi said officials hope to have some facilities reopened on or before July 20.

City-owned golf courses, and some athletic parks including the soccer centre are already opened to the public.

Calgary to open indoor recreation facilities on Tuesday
Calgary to open indoor recreation facilities on Tuesday

According to city officials, work is underway to re-open four ice surfaces by the end of June as well as four aquatic and fitness centres as a start.

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“Our Number 1 concern is around the health and safety of not only the citizens but our employees, and so we’re really looking at the guidelines provided by the province and interpreting them for what that means in operating,” City of Calgary recreation regional superintendent Michelle Tait said.

“When families and children and seniors come back into our facilities, that they’re safe and that we have all the proper protocols in place. Additionally, for our employees who are working in those environments.”

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Calgary to end state of local emergency, chalk circle pilot project coming to parks

In the meantime, the city is soon launching some of its summer day camp programs with health measures including outdoor active and arts programs.

Registration for those programs will begin June 25, and the camps themselves will start on July 6.