On March 22, 2020, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer enacted Executive Order 2020-20 in response to the growing COVID-19 pandemic. The order mandated many Michigan businesses and public areas to temporarily close.
On Thursday, however, Gov. Whitmer announced that gyms and pools across the state are allowed to reopen starting today.
The Dow’s response
The Dow’s fitness facilities were no exception to the rule Whitmer enacted back in March. In response to the governor’s executive action, The Dow’s cardio and fitness facilities sat vacant for nearly five months.
As students returned to campus amid the COVID-19 pandemic, most indoor gyms throughout the state of Michigan remained closed due to Gov. Whitmer’s original executive order.
However, rather than declare yet another COVID-19 defeat, Albion College officials temporarily moved The Dow’s cardio and fitness facilities to a location that has been deemed safe by state and local COVID-19 guidelines.
As of Aug. 24, The Dow’s cardio and fitness center was moved and reinstated as a fully functioning outdoor area.
The cardio and fitness center is currently located on the path leading up to The Dow, and it is being housed under a white tent. The temporary workout facility consists mostly of treadmills, ellipticals, stationary bikes, rowing machines and fans.
In order to comply with Michigan’s COVID guidelines, the workout machines were each six feet apart, every machine was sanitized before and after a person used it and everyone was expected to wear a mask when inside the tent. The area was also only accessible to those participating in Albion College’s Together Safely protocols.
In addition to the new workout facility, the college added a few portable basketball hoops to the south of the outdoor tennis courts. The college is currently in the process of creating an intramural sport program that is set to begin within the next few weeks.
“We are looking at intramural volleyball, ping pong tournament, cornhole tournament, etc. that will be scheduled at different times throughout the semester,” said Matt Arend, Albion College athletic director, via email.
What the new executive order means for the Dow
“As the state of Michigan prepares to reopen gyms and other indoor fitness spaces, Albion College is prepared to open its indoor facilities to current Albion College students, faculty and staff,” said Arend in an email sent out to campus on Tuesday.
In accordance with Gov. Whitmer’s legislation, The Dow reopened the Serra Fitness Center, multipurpose room and Lomas Fieldhouse to students, faculty and staff this morning at 6 a.m. The Dean Aquatic Center is set to reopen this coming Sunday from 7 to 9 p.m. The Ungrodt Tennis Center and Gracie Mack Golf Indoor Center will only be open for varsity team practices but will not be open for general use.
Despite the reopening of indoor facilities, outdoor facilities will remain open as well, although hours have been modified to Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Although the Dow is reopened to students, faculty and staff, no off-campus guests will be allowed to use either indoor or outdoor facilities. Students, faculty and staff who use Dow facilities must also wear a mask at all times, except when swimming, and an Albion ID must be presented to gain entry into the tent and building.
All facilities will be at 25 percent capacity, and all machines have been spaced far apart with dividers installed between each. Additional sanitizing procedures have been implemented as well.
Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the Dow’s new regulations before utilizing its facilities. To learn more about the Dow’s reopening as well as new protocols being implemented to combat COVID-19, visit Albion Athletics’s COVID-19 information page.