WELCOME BACK: WIRAC ready to reopen its doors
WIRAC will reopen its doors to the community far sooner than expected, thanks to the State Government’s early easing of coronavirus restrictions.
From Monday, June 8, the fitness and recreation centre will reopen its gym and group fitness classes to members under strict social distancing measures, which include essential class bookings, a 20-patron maximum in all areas, and a ‘no towel, no training’ policy.
Centre manager Karen Peters said the early government green light was a welcome surprise, but also put some pressure on the WIRAC team to reopen that very next day.
“It was very little notice when we closed, and then it was bang, we’re open as of midday Monday – we just weren’t ready right then,” Mrs Peters said.
“We had to make sure that there was a COVID Safe Industry Plan for (Fitness Australia), and then we had to make our own YMCA one as well.
“We also had to wait for our team to get back together as well, as some of them had been working elsewhere while they didn’t have this job.”
Mrs Peters added that continued regulations and advice from governing bodies such as Swimming Queensland would prevent their pool facilities, including swimming lessons and the hydropool, from returning right away.
“A lot of people in Warwick are very keen to get back in the water, and that’s fair enough because our staff are keen to get it up and running as well,” she said.
“But again, it’s the same as the fitness areas, where we need to wait for these governing bodies and their guidance for how we introduce social distancing in the swimming area.
“People want to get back, and I understand that, but there’s a lot we have to get right first – it will happen, we just need to be patient.”
The WIRAC manager said she and the rest of their team had been using the forced closure to make the centre as safe and welcoming for members as possible, it would still be a far cry from the social hub it was before the virus.
“Obviously the pool is still closed, and we unfortunately won’t be able to do the whole sit down and have a coffee at the centre for a little while,” Mrs Peters said.
“Everything’s modified and it’s going to be a slow start – I’ve not only got patrons to think of, but staff as well.
“It’s been quite the emotional rollercoaster for us, but everyone’s smiling now and hopefully we’ll be on the up.”