Active Living Centre closed due to COVID-19 pandemic

Recreation centre remained open before restrictions tightened earlier this month

The Active Living Centre (ALC) has been closed by the U of M until further notice due to the rising number of COIVD-19 cases in the province.

The Manitoba government announced on Nov. 10 that the province would be moved into the red stage on the pandemic response system, which includes the closure of recreation facilities.

Until now, the ALC had stayed open and remained a safe place for students and staff to come and enjoy physical activity for the day.

U of M student Devyn Turner is an active member at the university gym, and said he was satisfied with the way the gym handled the protocols.

“The staff has been very good during this whole time,” Turner said. “They walk around and make sure people are social distancing, wearing a mask and wiping down their machines.”

“They are making it a very safe place for themselves and the people working out.”

Many people might complain that their workout is affected by having to wear a mask and follow other protocols, but that is not the case for Turner.

“No, my workout has not been impacted,” said Turner.

“The only difference is that I have to wear a mask, which is not a big deal at all. Fitness is very important to me, and a lot of others, and I can still do all my normal activities.”

“Since the ALC has now been closed, I will have to improvise like everyone else,” Turner said. “I believe that the government is doing the right thing for everyone and has our safety as their first priority.”

Since Oct. 2, only four possible exposures to COVID-19 have been at gyms around the city of Winnipeg. This is a relatively small number compared to other areas, such as schools.

Although there has been little exposure, Turner remains cautious.

“Not many cases have been at gyms around the city, but I think that a gym is actually a very easy place to get COVID if protocols are not followed properly,” Turner said.

“With the ALC following protocols, I never really saw it as an issue.”

Now, with the ALC’s closure, many students will have to find other ways to stay active such as hiking, biking, running, virtual fitness classes and at-home bodyweight workouts or, for a lucky few, working out using at-home equipment.

“I will have to start working out at home or going for runs,” Turner said. “It is important for me to stay healthy, and even with a time like this, it is no excuse to slack off and not better myself.”

A question that is central to many regular ALC-goers is what the recreation centre will look like when restrictions are lifted and society returns to some semblance of normality. Will it maintain heightened sanitation protocols, or go back to how it was previously?

Turner believes it will be the former.

“I think once COVID is over, the ALC is going to be a different place,” he said.

“People are going to be more cautious and sanitize more, which is probably for the better.”