Fitness, Fun, and Facemasks at Reopened Rec Center

Second floor of the MMC Wellness and Recreation Center during opening hours. (Photo Courtesy of Guido Gonzalez)

Guido Gonzalez / Assistant Entertainment Director

First-time members and regulars can start up their workout routines at FIU’s Wellness and Recreation Center. Both campuses have reopened their gym doors, ensuring a safe and hygienic environment in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Members who plan on working out at the rec center, need to follow a set of safety guidelines.

These rules include wearing face coverings, maintaining at least six feet between others, and using sanitation wipes to clean equipment before and after use.

In order to ensure that the maximum capacity is capped at 60 persons, the facilities have adopted an appointment system to allow gym-goers to make reservations beforehand. 

The appointment system was also adopted for pragmatic reasons. 

“That’s helping with contact tracing,” said Leoncio Alvarez, the WRC marketing and membership assistant director. “So, it’ll be easier to contact those individuals and let them know about the individual who got sick.”

Alvarez said that all rec employees are following proper protocols approved by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Our facility attendants have also been trained to go around and clean all the pieces of equipment that have been used,” Alvarez said. “We have been able to distance the majority of our equipment, and you’ll notice there’s some signage around.”

Both centers have been cooperating with both in-state and out-of-state universities and the National Institute of Recreational Services.

Only the north side—including the second floor—of the rec center is currently available for use. The other sections which are mainly used for cardio, remain closed.

Cardio equipment such as treadmills, ellipticals and stair masters remain off limits since their usage is made difficult when having facemasks on.

“If we had to have [the cardio equipment] back on, then people would be asked to not wear a mask,” Alvarez said, “and we don’t want to do that to our members.”

However, demands for cardio equipment to be placed in the north side have been made, and plans for their incorporation with an in-between distance of 10 feet are still in the initial stages.

Despite extensive precautions being taken, the plans for the future remain uncertain, and the center is taking it, as Alvarez puts it, “one step at a time.”

“Right now, the cases are going down,”he said. “But if they do go up we really don’t know. So, we’re planning to keep things as they are for the time being.” 

The WRC will be open at two-hour intervals every day of the week for the foreseeable future.

The MMC center is open Monday through Sunday from 10 a.m to 6 p.m, and the BBC center is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends. 

Virtual fitness classes such as yoga and zumba are also available.

Appointments, rules and other information regarding equipment availability and accessible locations are also available on wri.fiu.edu.

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