Mission approves Parks and Recreation reopening plan, community center reopens in limited capacity June 8

The community center previously allowed people to remove their masks while intensely working out and while eating or drinking during room rentals. File photo.

The Mission City Council last month approved a Parks and Recreation specific reopening plan, including a limited reopening of the Sylvester Powell Jr. Community Center on June 8.

Although a city-wide reopening plan was previously approved, the City Council asked staff to bring forward a Parks and Recreation reopening plan specifically for the community center. City Administrator Laura Smith said the city is not anxious to race through phases, and will move slow and steady through the four-phased plan.

“The worst thing we can do is rush into a phase and we start to see spikes or we start to see active cases in our facility, and then we have to go back to much more dramatic measures,” Smith said. “Let’s start this slowly and make sure we can handle it, and let’s continue to gradually build in a way that’s safe from there.”

There is a two-week period between each phase, but city staff will consider regional data, a downward trend of COVID-19 cases and participation rates at the community center before moving onto the next phase, Parks and Recreation Director Penn Almoney said.

Below is an overview of the Parks and Recreation reopening plan, and a detailed plan can be found in city documents here.

Phase one, began May 11

Nearly all Parks and Recreation facilities and spaces are closed to the public. Tennis courts, however, are open. Additionally, patrons, guests and visitors will be asked the following three screening questions upon arrival at the community center once it opens:

  • Are you feeling well today?
  • Do you have a fever or symptoms consistent with COVID-19 (fever, cough, sore throat, etc.)?
  • Have you been around persons with confirmed COVID-19?

Vendors will be required to complete the above screening checklist, as well as sign a facility check-in log, wear a mask and maintain social distancing at the community center.

Phase two, began June 8

The community center is open during normal business hours Monday through Saturday, but will be closed Sundays during phase two. It is closed from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays for cleaning. Members can use their key tags to enter, though membership fees will continue to be suspended since the pool is closed. Guests can purchase a discounted $5 day pass.

Some of the safety measures being taken during this step that will continue through the phase four/phase out portion of the plan are as follows:

  • Staff and patrons are required to wear masks (that can be taken off while exercising)
  • A 30-minute limit on cardio equipment when others are waiting
  • Closed areas will be clearly communicated through signage and emails
  • One staff member will be at the front door, front desk, first floor elevator and locker room, south gym, second floor area with cardio equipment and stairs, and the second floor “selectorized equipment.”
  • Every other cardio machine will be closed
  • One person is allowed on the elevator at a time
  • Benches throughout the community center will be removed, and individual chairs will be placed 10 feet or more apart to limit congregation

Phase three, beginning no sooner than June 22

The pool area inside the community center will open no sooner than July 1, but will be limited to scheduled lap lane reservations during this phase. Age restrictions allow those 10-years of age or older to participate in open swim, gym use and racquetball from this phase through phase four/phase out.

Additionally, members will be charged 25% of their membership fee since there are limited amenities available. There will not be basketball or pickleball use during this phase.

The sprayground will open to the public daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with a 10-person limit. If people are waiting, there will be a 30-minute time limit.

Phase four/phase out, beginning no sooner than July 6

Playgrounds will open during this phase, and will be disinfected daily with Clorox 360. Park rentals and restrooms are open at this time. The community center will be open on Sundays during this phase, as well.

Programs for vulnerable populations will return, including more fitness classes. Basketball and pickleball are permitted if patrons bring their own equipment. The community center pool is open with some restrictions. Community center rentals are also available so long as renters adhere to the center’s policies and standards that will be communicated and outlined in a signed contract.