As Utah moves towards looser safety guidelines for the COVID-19 pandemic, 11 of Salt Lake County’s recreation centers have reopened after public health ordered closures — and five more are scheduled to open over the next month.
In an effort to keep visitors and staff safe, each facility has new social distancing guidelines that include keeping a 6 foot distance from others and wearing face masks.
“We have modified operations for everything from our rec centers to golf,” Clayton Scrivner, spokesman for Salt Lake County parks and recreation, said in an interview. “We’ve really had to go in and look at everything we do and make adjustments."
Utahns going back to recreation centers can expect a reservation system and new rules for fitness areas, indoor pools, and ice rinks. Scrivner said it is most important to make a reservation if you want to use the fitness center or pool. If you come in without a reservation, you can still use the rec center if there is availability.
Workout times can be reserved on your center’s website or by calling and available facilities can be found through the rec center website’s reservations portal.
Another change is that Utahns can no longer access locker rooms for changing or showers, so recreation centers are asking that you come dressed in your workout clothes or swim suit.
“We’ve definitely stepped up our cleaning game,” Scrivner said, but visitors are encouraged to wipe down equipment before and after using it.
Other changes focus on limiting the number of people using facilities. Only one person can use each lane of the track, and only one swimmer is allowed per lane. Outdoor pools are also closed except for Salt Lake City Sports Complex.
The ice rinks also have new rules. Ice skaters should come dressed in their skating gear because locker rooms are closed. One hour ice sessions are available but there is a 15-person limit per session. And only one parent or guardian can come into the rink with their child.
Scrivner said some centers have not opened because they were used to respond to the coronavirus outbreak. “The health department had control or has control of some of our facilities and so that’s why we’ve had to go with a phased reopening,” he said.
Nicholas Rupp, spokesman for Salt Lake County Health Department, said seven facilities and a number of county buildings were taken over by the health department as part of the pandemic response. But he wouldn’t reveal the location of these facilities, saying the lack of disclosure was intended to maintain the privacy of Utahns using them.
News reports have identified the Holladay Lions Recreation Center as a coronavirus quarantine and isolation facility although county officials have refused to confirm this. And that rec center will be the last to open, July 13, according to the county’s schedule.
Other facilities like the Sorenson Unity Center have not yet opened because they were under construction. Parks and recreation is also making sure that outdoor pools are staffed with enough lifeguards after the county’s hiring freeze.
“We said all along this would be a phased and deliberate reopening ... we weren’t going to just flip a switch and open up everything all at once," Scrivner told The Tribune.
“We just appreciate everyone’s patience, this is unprecedented times for everyone and we provide … quality of life services for the people of Salt Lake County," he added. “We just want to make sure that we’re doing it safely and with the health of our patrons and our residents in mind.”
Recreation centers now open to the public include:
County Ice Center in Murray
Dimple Dell Recreation Center in Sandy
Fairmont Aquatic Center in Salt Lake City
JL Sorenson Recreation Center in Herriman
Magna Recreation Center in Magna
Millcreek Recreation Center in Millcreek City
Northwest Recreation Center in Salt Lake City
SLC Sports Complex in Salt Lake City
South Jordan Fitness and Aquatic Center in South Jordan
Taylorsville Recreation Center in Taylorsville
Acord Ice Center in West Valley City
Other centers opening in June:
Gene Fullmer Recreation Center opens Monday, June 15
Sorenson Multicultural Center is scheduled to open June 23
Rec centers opening in July:
Draper Recreation Center opens July 1
Outdoor pools opening July 1
Holladay Lions Recreation Center opens July 13