It might only be eight lanes right now, but they looked pretty good to swimmer Matt Collins. “I haven’t been in a pool for six months,” Collins said as he prepared to swim laps in the …
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It might only be eight lanes right now, but they looked pretty good to swimmer Matt Collins.
“I haven’t been in a pool for six months,” Collins said as he prepared to swim laps in the Westminster Swim and Fitness Center Sept. 14. “I’ll be back tomorrow. And tomorrow, I’ll bring my girlfriend.”
Collins was one of a handful of swimmer to get to enjoy the water at city pool on its opening day. The pool closed in March along with the rest of the city’s buildings and facilities at the start of the COVID-19 closings and stay at home order.
“It six months ago, almost to the day,” said Westminster Recreation Supervisor Deb Larsen.
Westminster has begun slowly reopening it’s recreation facilities. The city’s outdoor pool at Countryside reopened July 3 and the city’s plans are to keep it open into October. But was cold comfort to swimmer when the temperatures turned cold earlier in September.
The City Park Fitness Center, one of the two facilities at 104th and Sheridan, reopened its weight and locker rooms to guests Sept. 8, but the main facility, with its swimming pool remains closed.
As of Sept. 14, the Swim and Fitness Center at 76th and Irving Street, became the first indoor pool to open.
“With the success of the city’s summer camp program and overwhelmingly positive response to the opening of Countryside Pool, we want to start to reopen city facilities, slowly, and in accordance with the state and county health orders,” Jason Genck, Westminster’s director of parks, recreation and libraries said in a written statement.
But Larsen said the opening comes with some strict rules in place. Residents are allowed to swim laps for up to an hour in one of eight swimming lanes.
“If you come in with a family member, you can each swim in one in lane,” Steve Thomas, assistant facilities supervisor said. “Otherwise, its one person to a lane.”
Thomas said drop-in swimmers are welcome, as long as there is space available. Members can call to register times in advance.
Once the swimmers leave, the staff locks the door and cleans. Every thing gets disinfected after the visit. The floors are mopped, the pool area is cleaned and the locker rooms are disinfected with hydrostatic guns.
“The thing is, we don’t know what someone has touched or will touch when they come in, so we have to clean everything,” Thomas said.
Larsen said the facility is also preparing to re-open its preschool program on Sept. 17, while the facilities weight rooms, racquetball courts and other facilities remain closed. Families will be met at the building’s entrance and children will be walked in through the second floor walkway to the preschool room.
“The way we have it set up, they won’t walk through the main entrance,” she said. “The swimmers and the preschoolers will never have any contact with each other.”
State-licensed preschool classes also restarted at City Park Recreation Center, the Swim and the West View Recreation Center.
The city’s two libraries, Irving Street and College Hill, also began offering the public access to the computers Sept. 14. Computers will be available for one-hour sessions at both libraries, Sunday through Friday. Six computers have been set up at each library, with six feet social distancing between each computer.
Patrons will be able to reserve a computer session online or over the phone. Patrons will be required to wear masks while in the building and the computers will be cleaned after each session.
The rest of the library will remain closed. Curbside pickup of materials on hold will continue five days a week.
City Hall and part of the Municipal Service Center plans to reopen to some employees starting Monday, Oct. 12. The facilities will remain closed to the public during this initial phase as city staff ensure safety protocols are in place and working. City Hall should be open to the public by appointment later this Fall.
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