ARC to begin gradual reopening in the fall

‘No earlier than September 8’; Queen’s students will have limited ARC access

ARC to be reconfigured in accordance with COVID-19 regulations
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Journal File Photo

Things have been looking up since Queen’s opened limited outdoor facilities May 22. But now, a sign of true normalcy may be on the horizon.

Queen’s Department of Athletics and Recreation (A&R) released a statement on July 28 disclosing its plans for a “phased reopening” of the Athletics and Recreation Centre (ARC) with reduced capacity. The plan is for the reopening to begin “no earlier than September 8, 2020.”

According to the statement, A&R is optimistic that the majority of “programs and spaces” could be in operation by Oct. 1. Some facilities, however, have been ruled out of the first phase of reopening—most notably the pool, which is undergoing maintenance and is set to reopen at a later date.

The announcement comes nearly five months after Queen’s cancelled in-person classes on March 13 and shut down all athletic facilities on March 16.

While the ARC’s return might be welcomed by students, it won’t come without adjustment.

A&R said that spaces within the ARC are being reconfigured to accommodate social distancing and a “range of safety measures” are being implemented.

Stage three of “Reopening Ontario” suggests “[c]leaning and disinfecting equipment and high-touch surfaces as frequently as is necessary to maintain a sanitary environment,” something the ARC previously practised for years but without the same strict enforcement.

Students should expect to wear masks at all times aside from when exercising, as is standard in GoodLife Fitness’s COVID-19 policies and many other gyms.

While the current rules for stage 3 in Ontario permitted the re-opening of gyms on July 17, Queen’s Athletics has been using the time to plan and prepare until students return for the fall semester. 

The situation is constantly evolving, and plans are subject to change depending on the COVID-19 circumstances in Kingston and KFL&A Public Health’s stance come the fall.

A&R’s release and future updates can be found here.

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