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Wilson gym to reopen Sept. 14 if state rules allow, Brodie to remain closed this fall

You may be able to start going to the gym again soon. 

If state restrictions are lifted and Duke approves, Wilson Recreation Center will reopen Sept. 14, according to a Duke Recreation FAQ page. Governor Roy Cooper will announce Tuesday details of his plan to ease some restrictions, possibly including those on gyms, according to WSOC

Director of Recreation Facilities Chris Policastro said preparations are being made to reopen Wilson, but Brodie Recreation Center will remain closed for the rest of the semester. 

Once Wilson is open, the recreational staff will be required to maintain safety protocols due to COVID-19. Members can only access the gym by reserving a one-hour time slot ahead of their visit, similar to how the Taishoff Aquatics Pavilion is currently operating, Policastro said. 

Policastro said that if people have not left the gym by the time their reserved hour is complete, they will be escorted out of the building.

“The whole point of us going through the reservation process is to control our capacity number,” he said. 

When people arrive at the gym for their reserved timeslot, Policastro said, they will have to show a staff member their completed SymMon app pass. Gymgoers are required to wear a mask for the entire duration of their workout.

Cardio equipment will not be available when the gym first opens, as Policastro said that he plans to “start slowly with the number of people we’re allowing to make reservations.” He said students should be able to use these machines within a few weeks.

In order to maintain social distancing guidelines, the staff also plans to space out the equipment on the gym floor. Each machine will be at least ten feet apart. 

Physical education classes have been in session since the academic year began on Aug. 17. Rather than holding them in designated classroom areas, however, instructors moved the necessary equipment onto basketball courts, which have been closed to the public and only available for certain classes, Policastro said. 

The Wilson staff will also be periodically spraying disinfectant on commonly touched surfaces, such as handlebars, railings and tabletops. Hand sanitizer stations will be available throughout the building for gym members to use, as well as disinfectant wipes to wipe down gym equipment, which were available prior to the pandemic, Policastro said. 

As COVID-19 cases start to decline across the state and facilities start reopening, students expressed excitement about activities like going to the gym picking back up. 

First-year Ryan Lou said that he looks forward to the reopening. 

“For me, going to the gym is about keeping myself accountable,” Lou said. “Being able to use recreational facilities will definitely be beneficial to my mental health.”

Meanwhile, first-year John Lee said that he’s cautiously optimistic. 

“I’m glad they’re taking steps to disinfect the gym equipment,” Lee said. “Wilson’s reopening will be a good test to see how well recreational facilities can manage under COVID-19 guidelines.”

The state is currently in Phase 2 of Cooper’s three-part reopening plan, and gyms are not currently allowed to be open. Some local gyms have found a loophole in Cooper’s previous orders, allowing them to serve people who need to exercise for medical reasons. 

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