Busy weekend for opened City of Edmonton recreation centres despite strict COVID-19 rules

It’s the first weekend some city recreation centres in Edmonton have reopened to the public.

“It feels great. Super excited. It’s something we’ve been looking forward to and it’s finally here,” Kinsmen Sports Centre patron Sherry Lotzien said Sunday.

“We’ve been working out at home and it’s not quite the same, and it’s nice to be back in the gym and get to see other people,” Kinsmen Sports Centre patron Ettore Raimondi said.

Read more: Edmonton planning to bring back temporary shared streets in spring 2021 for physical distancing

The province closed gyms Dec. 12 due to a rise in COVID-19 cases but were eventually allowed to reopen with limited use March 1.

Kinsmen and the Commonwealth Community Recreation Centre opened March 5.

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On Wednesday, the city will open the Meadows and Terwillegar rec centres.

Clareview rec centre will open on March 15. Regardless of the openings, pools will remain closed and low-intensity group fitness classes don’t start until March 8.

“Our capacities are down to 50 [people] at the Kinsmen Sports Centre and between 70 and 80 at the other four rec centres just to have a spacing restriction,” Kinsmen Sports Centre director Brad Badger said.

Click to play video 'Edmonton planning to bring back temporary shared streets in spring 2021' Edmonton planning to bring back temporary shared streets in spring 2021

Edmonton planning to bring back temporary shared streets in spring 2021

Due to the limited space, patrons need to book a spot online, but the demand is high.

“I booked a whole bunch of days in advance because they actually fill up really quickly now,” Kinsmen Sports Centre patron Elizabeth Iginla said.

For those who book a spot, the rules around working out are different this time around.

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“The biggest change in this last announcement is going from two metres to three metres as far as distancing between people and equipment,” Badger said.

Patrons must also wear a mask at all times and adhere to a low-intensity workout.

“We’ve adapted a rate of eversion chart. It’s used in the fitness industry so we’re able to tell people that they have to stay between one and four on the list. That is up to light activity, which is breaking a sweat but being able to comfortably talk,” Badger said.

Image of rating of perceived exertion used by the City of Edmonton. Chris Chacon/Global News

While getting that hardcore workout will have to wait, for some, what’s in place is good enough for now.

“It certainly doesn’t feel normal, nonetheless, it’s good to be back,” Kinsmen Sports Centre patron Katie Raimondi said.

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The city says due to the closure of pools and other amenities, limited memberships remain on hold, but the city is offering a special monthly pass at a reduced rate.

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