By Ashley St. John
COVID-19 has been affecting many aspects of SUNY Plattsburgh including the Fitness Center located in Memorial Hall. The Fitness Center was given clearance to open Sept. 14.
According to a student digest post, students have to be screened before entering, remain six-feet apart, wear an “acceptable face covering,” meaning no bandanas or neck gaiters and wipe down the machines they use with provided cleaning supplies. The locker rooms and showers are also unavailable.
Fitness Center Director Matt Salvatore said he’s comfortable with all of the new protocols put into place and thinks that they’re all effective. Salvatore said everyone that has been using the gym has done a good job following the guidelines.
“People understand and go out of their way to protect themselves and others,” Salvatore said.
His only concern is making sure students know how to limit themselves with the restriction of the masks. He said students or anyone exercising should modify the intensity of their workouts because it will be a different experience.
“I don’t really mind all of the new rules,” senior Erica Goldstein said. “I know that they’re all there to keep us safe.”
Goldstein said she uses the gym a few days a week when she’s able to go. The only thing that bothers her is wearing a mask while exercising.
“It’s just different,” she said. “It’s gonna take some getting used to.”
The fitness center now has modified hours from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and closed Sundays. It’s also closed 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. every day for deep cleaning.
Salvatore said the capacity for the Fitness Center is now cut to 33% of what it was, which means only 31 people are allowed to be exercising at a time with two staff members working.
Due to the time restrictions, there’s a higher demand to use the facility.
“We’ve been hitting max [capacity] on a fairly regular basis,” Salvatore said. “Almost every day from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., we are maxed out.”
Because of this, Goldstein said it’s been a little difficult to get into the gym. Sometimes, when she decides to go, she isn’t able to get in and doesn’t really have the time to wait until it’s available.
Salvatore said he is hoping to be able to open the facility to faculty soon, as well as expanding the hours to give members more flexibility for their workouts. They’re just waiting on campus leadership approval.
Outdoor exercise classes such as yoga were approved when the semester started. These classes are held in the field behind Memorial Hall on weather-permitting days. Students are expected to bring their own yoga mats because they can’t risk students using the school mats. Some classes have also been approved to be held in Algonquin Hall due to the group activity room in Memorial Hall being under construction.
Some of the facilities and classes in the Fitness Center have not opened yet, such as the climbing wall and kickboxing classes, because of the higher risk of multiple students sharing equipment like gloves.
“Guidance could change rapidly, so we try to be on our toes for any new changes,” Salvatore said.