University of Michigan reopens recreational sports facilities on September 28 after increase in coronavirus cases
ANN ARBOR, MI – After being closed for more than six months due to the coronavirus pandemic, the University of Michigan recreational sports facilities will reopen on Monday, September 28.
A number of changes have been made to the facilities to keep spaces safe and clean, according to a press release from the university.
Students and members will need to make reservations for training and swimming and must wear face coverings during training.
Officials say the facilities will also operate at reduced capacities and hours to allow more cleaning during the day.
The reopening comes after Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s September 3 announcement that gyms could reopen under strict security package, including guests wearing masks at all times and staying six feet from each other. Gyms are limited to 25% of their capacity.
Other Unified Messaging changes include:
- Cardio and weight training equipment physically 10 feet apart.
- Selective equipment and some cardio equipment are now available on the CCRB and NCRB gymnasium grounds.
- Strength, stretch floors, and some racquetball areas have been marked to allow for physical distance activities.
- Addition of plexiglass barriers to the reception center offices.
- Increased locations for disposable wipes for user cleaning.
- Touchless hand disinfection stations.
- Increase in staff for cleaning.
- Personal protective equipment and mandatory health examinations for all employees.
A new application has been created to allow contactless entry into buildings, to make reservations for facilities and swimming pools and to find opening hours, the statement said.
Reservations began to be accepted on September 25. However, indoor programming, rentals and all on-court activities like basketball, volleyball, badminton, squash and racquetball will not be available during the initial phase of reopening, the statement said.
Officials announced the reopening on September 24, the same day UM updated its COVID-19 dashboard, which now shows more than 200 cases of COVID-19 in the past three weeks. More than half of the tests for these cases came from outside the MU.
Susan Ringler-Cerniglia, communications and health promotion administrator for the Washtenaw County Health Department, said the facilities may open under state direction, and even with increasing cases of COVID-19 in the UM community, the health department is not asking the university to do something different at this point.
“At this point, it’s not clear if this is the start of an uptrend or if further action needs to be taken,” Ringler-Cerniglia said. “Probably in the next few days we’ll have a better idea.”
Even before the student body returned to Ann Arbor, Ringler-Cerniglia said they had started to see a trend towards younger, healthier people who tested positive or exposed to COVID-19.
Ringler-Cerniglia said the numbers for the county have been lower for some time, but there isn’t necessarily something different about the increase in cases around MU.
There is always a risk of exposure when people are in public and face to face with people who are not part of their household, she said, but as the increase increases, the risk to the community is growing.
“This is something that we are watching very carefully,” Ringler-Cerniglia said. “It’s just hard right now to say if things have changed. We kind of need to see what this trend is doing and where it will take us in the next few days.