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New safety measures in place for the ARC

Athletics and Recreation begins phased reopening of facilities to welcome students, staff, faculty and community members.

The new Queen's Athletics and Recreation Centre (ARC) entrance set up ahead of the facilities limited reopening on Sept. 8.

After months of detailed health and safety planning, Queen’s is set to launch its phased reopening of the Athletics and Recreation Centre (ARC), as well as more outdoor facilities, beginning on Tuesday, Sept. 8. Its reopening is part of the university’s broader return-to-campus planning efforts that are focused on ensuring enhanced health and safety protocols are in place at all times to protect the Queen’s community from COVID-19.

The ARC has been reconfigured to ensure physical distancing, to create individual activity spaces, and a to put in place a new online reservation system for equipment, spaces, and programs. Students will be first to access the building, while existing members will be able to return starting Monday, Sept.14.

“We know that physical activity is important for overall wellness, so it was important for us to provide space for fitness and recreation with all the safety protocols in place,” says Ann Tierney, Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs. “Our Athletics and Recreation staff have worked hard to implement a phased and responsible opening of facilities. We look forward to welcoming students, employees, and the broader membership in the days and weeks ahead.”

To comply with provincial guidelines, the ARC will operate using only half of its typical capacity, and members will be required to pre-book an activity space using the new Getactive website or through the Queen’s Get Active App, which is available on device app stores.

Members arriving for their reserved workout time will enter through a newly-defined entrance on Earl Street, rather than through what was the main entrance in the Queen’s Centre, to ensure safe flow of traffic. To check in, members will be asked to share their reservation confirmation, a ‘green badge’ on their SeQure app’s new COVID-19 assessment, and their ARC membership card. Once inside, they will see new safety signs and equipment spaced to respect physical distancing.

All visits will allow for 50 minutes of activity and a combined 10 minutes for members to transition in and out of their time slot, followed by 30 minutes for staff to clean the facility fully before the next one begins.

The first facility to open is the ARC North fitness areas, including the gyms, the women’s fitness zone and other reconfigured spaces. ARC South in Mitchell Hall will open two weeks later. The ARC pool remains closed for now as renovations are yet to be completed. 

Outdoor recreation facilities, such as Nixon and Tindall fields, Tindall running track, and Summerhill tennis courts reopened in May. The West Campus fields are scheduled to reopen mid-September.

“Our new safety procedures, combined with an enhanced cleaning regime and schedule, are great steps toward keeping our students and other ARC users safe this fall,” says Leslie Dal Cin, Executive Director, Athletics and Recreation.

To ensure continued safety into the semester, the facility will not be offering new memberships at this time. Requests for external rentals will be considered later in the term.

Details on modified programming for varsity sports, intramurals, and group fitness will be released soon. Virtual programming continues to be available at QueensGetsActive.

For more on the ARC’s phased reopening, visit the Athletics and Recreation website.

The ARC reopening is part of Queen’s larger return-to-campus plan, which aims to facilitate a safe, responsible, and gradual return to normal operations, as public health conditions and guidance permit. As part of this effort, the university is continuing with remote delivery of classes this fall for most students, limiting the capacity of our residences to under 50 per cent, making face masks mandatory, ensuring physical distancing, implementing the SeQure app’s new COVID-19 assessment function, and working with public health partners to set up a COVID-19 testing centre on campus. Queen’s is also strongly encouraging students from areas with active outbreaks or community transmission to get tested before travelling to Kingston and asking all students to limit contact with others for 14-days after arrival.

For more information on the university’s COVID-19 planning and resources, visit the COVID-19 Information website.