After more than six months being closed, the Bulkley Valley Regional Pool and Recreation Centre has re-opened.
The facility shut down in March amid the coronavirus pandemic. It has now opened its doors to the public with some precautions in place.
The pilot facility schedule started on Monday and will run until Oct. 3 to allow staff to evaluate the new protocols put in place to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
There will be no drop-in available and visitors will have to book a time slot ahead of using the pool or court.
Other precautions put in place include wearing masks in the lobby and change rooms and patrons will be required to self assess for signs of sickness.
The dry sauna and all water fountains are closed. The climbing wall is also closed for non-Wall Club members.
There will also be no access to change rooms on the way in.
“Please arrive ready to swim or workout,” said Tamara Gillis, facility manager. “The viewing area, pool deck by [the] lanes and areas in the fitness room will have bins to place street clothes for storage.”
The rec centre will be running, for now, without any programs or group bookings. They do plan on reintroducing swimming lessons and youth programming in the new year. However, dry-land fitness, first aid courses and advanced courses to qualify aquatic staff are running.
Gillis said rec centres across the province are opening with their own specific protocols, but most are similar.
“Every facility is following recommendations from the BC Lifesaving Society, BCRPA and Health Authorities, but because every facility has a different layout and limitations, things will vary a little facility to facility. We have very similar guidelines to Prince George, Prince Rupert and Terrace,” she added. “For example we are lucky we have a hot tub that allows for physical distancing, many facilities’ hot tubs are too small to be open.”
Gillis is hoping for patience and understanding with the new protocols.
“Our community is ready for this, but it is going to be different than normal,” she said. “We see businesses all over town each with their own guidelines. This is new for all of us, so we ask for patience as we all learn together. We will be reviewing our protocols regularly and making adjustments as needed.”
Their website has more information on temporary admission policies and existing membership refund policies.