The Rowlett Community Centre has adjusted its hours and implemented new policies following the COVID-19 pandemic.
In early spring the Community Centre closed down following the pandemic and reopened early June. The Community Centre opened the gym when it was announced gyms could be allowed to open with limited capacity, sanitized equipment, and guests to wear masks and gloves.
“Basically what we did was change the whole system on how people could come in,” Operations Manager Kari Pacheco said. “Right now we are open for members only, and you have to sign up for a time slot to come in and workout. They can sign up online for which area of the recreation center they want to workout in. ”
The Community Centre was a voting location from mid-October through the election. The city of Rowlett has held its voting location at the city hall annex, but this year they needed amicable space. The Community Centre was chosen by the Dallas County elections office, and they were able to close one gym down for the space needed.
“There was a need to find a bigger location knowing with the presidential election and COVID,” Deputy City Manager Angela Smith said. “We needed a place where people could come in one door and out another. We needed a place that could handle the traffic that would happen during the election and it went great.”
The gym is now open to its members and uses a reservation system to control what time guests can be allowed in while maintaining social distance. Members can reserve a gym for activities for up to forty-five minutes or reserve two hours in the community center gym. Other events such as senior bingo have been organized virtually.
“We’ve had to modify our programs. In the past, we had different programs from youth to seniors. We’ve been doing bingo on Facebook Live, which our senior programmer at the time organized,” Pacheco said. “There were other recreational programs around the nation that looked at him and wanted to do that too and he hosted a webinar that was pretty popular. We still do that and look for ways to modify our programs.”
The community center has also hosted holiday events in the past and has found ways to adapt to the pandemic in order to still have these programs run. One of them is the Parks and Recreation parade downtown, which will be a stationary parade this year.
“We are calling it a reverse parade. Basically, our downtown area will have floats that will be stationary, and people can drive around and check out the floats and stuff,” Pacheco said. “It’s something to do downtown and get people to come out.”
Members can reserve times at the community center and will be asked to wear masks inside the facility. A staff member will also ask pre-screening questions upon arrival as well as take member’s temperature. If a resident would like to become a member they can call 972-412-617 and can be signed up over the phone.
“We’re taking as many precautions as we can to make people safe. We still want to see people. When we had to close our doors it was a different world for all of us because we are people people and that’s what we do,” Pacheco said. “It changed everything, so we want to be able to keep the doors open but make sure we are being as safe as possible. We want to let people know that we are here and taking as many precautions as we can to keep people safe.”