Hannah Community Center cautiously reopens pool, fitness center

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The Hannah Community Center, where some community members go for fitness and swimming, was closed for six months.

EAST LANSING – The East Lansing Hannah Community Center has slowly started to open its recreational services to the community. Hannah and all its activities have been closed since the middle of March. But since Sept. 20 the center has opened its fitness center and pool with certain guidelines in place.

East Lansing Parks and Recreation Director Tim McCaffrey said, “We followed the guidelines for re-opening based off of Gov. Whitmer’s orders, the CDC, and the Ingham public health officials.”

McCaffrey said it was important to open the community center. “We believed that it was important to start a partial phased reopening because I think our community was very interested in looking at that. We have a number of people in our community who come to the community center for physical activity and a sense of socialness.”

Lois Fogarasi, guest services and accounts coordinator, shed light on reopening procedures.

Fogarasi said, “When our guests enter the building, we ask them to come to the front desk and get a temperature scan and ask them the usual COVID-19 screening questions. After this takes place, we send them on their way to either the fitness center or the pool.”

She touched on procedures that the staff is expected to follow. All must wear masks and go through the same screening process and temperature check that guests go through. Anyone on staff who has symptoms of any sickness or a temperature over 100.2 degrees is asked to not come in.

Aquatics Specialist Dee Careathers, who was promoted in January, is the main overseer of the pool. Day to day she manages the staff and updates training for the pool. Careathers knew the exact orders about people allowed in the pool.

Careathers said, “Executive order said 15-25% capacity. I was more comfortable limiting people to individual lanes in the pool ,so that’s four different sections. I allow a flux of about six to 10 people for lap swimming at a period of time. For open swim we’ve kept it to 15 people because there are no lanes in the pool, so everyone is able to socially distance and spread out.”

She also said that there are two lifeguards on duty as well as someone checking people that are just arriving and making sure people are social distancing. Careathers said the staff cleans at least every hour. Hannah is taking it day by day right now, but Careathers hopes the pool can continue to stay open because of how closely knit the community is.

Careathers said, “I think it was important that we got to open up and see so many familiar faces just come back to our facility.”

Coordinator Kathleen Miller oversees the fitness center and all the recreation art classes. She gave a rundown of how important opening the fitness center was and new procedures there.

“We are only taking reservations right now, and so we have to see if they have a reservation or not. If they don’t, then we have to assess if there is space or not. In the fitness center we are relying on individuals to clean after themselves once they are done with the equipment. We don’t have staff that is instantly in the fitness center,” Miller said.

She said, “Most of the time that we had the executive order where we couldn’t be open, the weather was very conducive to working out outdoors. As our days get shorter and the weather gets cooler people move indoors to get their workouts in.”

She said she hopes the community center can open up more, especially moving toward January when people make New Year’s resolutions to lose weight and get into shape.