Over a month since its re-opening during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Solon Community Center is seeing less daily foot traffic, Director of Recreation Rich Parker said last week.

“Traffic is much lighter than pre-COVID,” Mr. Parker said.

Typically, the center on Portz Parkway would have up to 1,000 guests a day. At the re-opening in early June, there were about 125 daily. Currently, about 200 come through the doors each day, he said.

“The steps that we took to keep everyone safe has worked, and we continue to add elements to help with that,” Mr. Parker said.

The building was completely sanitized and equipment administered to maintain social distancing, he continued.

“We didn’t necessarily re-open all areas of the building,” Mr. Parker noted. The locker rooms, track and banquet rooms remain closed, as does the outdoor pool. Programming has also been modified.

Things have been working out well, Mr. Parker said, despite the changes.

Initially, the center opened with just the fitness mezzanine equipment and lap pool available by reservation only. Recently, the center re-opened the upstairs free weight room, redistributing some of that equipment to the front half of the gymnasium.

Things continue to remain fluid as far as mask regulations with the statewide mandate going into effect last week. Mr. Parker noted that there are exceptions to the mandate allowing people to take masks off while actively exercising.

“Masks are strongly encouraged,” he said, “and we adjust as the state changes its mandates.”

Generally, Mr. Parker said guests are happy that the center has re-opened and appreciative of all the steps that staff members are taking to keep the facility safe. Next week, they will be installing an air purifier that will help with sanitation.

“It’s not a full proof system that works on its own but an added layer of protection,” Mr. Parker explained.

Guests are also wiping down equipment before and after use and coming prepared, which was requested by center staff.

Those guests who are symptomatic of the virus are asked to stay home.

“What has really worked well for us is that we have contacted the local health department on all our reopening plans and programs to make sure we are on track and doing the right thing,” he said. “It’s been good to make them a partner in our reopening and that has served us well.

“It makes us feel good and puts them at ease that we are checking in and sharing our plans,” Mr. Parker added.

For the last decade, Sue Reid has covered the government, business climate and residents of Solon. A Times reporter for 22 years, Ms. Reid has earned commendations from the Ohio Newspaper Association and Cleveland Press Association.

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