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Nome Rec Center Opens With Changes and Limitations

Equipment is spaced six feet apart in the gymnasium.

The Nome Recreation Center partially re-opened to the public on Monday, but Nome fitness buffs and community members will have to comply with some new COVID-19 related safety precautions.

Visitors will be greeted by a masked staff member. Sean Norris is the Lead Attendant at the Nome Recreation Center.

We ask that you come in with a mask, but obviously we’re not asking someone to wear a mask when they work out.”

Sean Norris cleans pens and surfaces after every customer. Photo: Emily Hofstaedter

Options are more limited for the time being, as the facility is only partially re-opened. Nomeites may be disappointed to learn there is no open gym. Instead, the weight machines and treadmills from the weight room are spread out in what is normally the basketball court, to allow for six feet of social distance between users.

Visitors will have access to some of their gym services, like the locker rooms. There will be some group classes, but those will run at the discretion of the individual instructors. Rock climbers will have to make appointments for the rock wall as individuals or as a small group.

Norris says options for freshening up after guests sweat it out have also changed.

“As of right now, we’ve limited the group showers. We’ve boarded all those up. Those aren’t allowed. We’ve boarded up the saunas. We can’t enforce social distancing in the group showers or saunas, only single use showers. We clean them after each use.”

Rec Center staff approach safety with a bit of humor. Photo: Emily Hofstaedter

The Rec Center has been closed to the public since March 14th but has served the community in other ways. NEST (Nome Emergency Shelter Team) and Norton Sound Health Corporation’s Day Shelter both operated out of the gymnasium until May 31st, as the space could help them meet social distancing requirements. City officials report that the space has been thoroughly disinfected between users to allow for a safe exercise environment during the pandemic.

There is no timeline for when the Rec Center will re-open to full capacity. Summer hours for the Nome Rec Center are Monday- Friday from 5:30am-8pm.

Image at Top: Workout equipment is spaced six feet apart in the gymnasium. Photo: Emily Hofstaedter, KNOM.

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