There’s a reservation system, stickers and signs galore, tape everywhere, a one-way walking system, and sanitiser can be found every few metres. Everything takes a little longer and requires a little more preparation than usual, but you can get a corona-proof workout in at UM Sports. The showers are not yet available.
The new house rules are as follows. Anyone who wants to exercise has to reserve a spot using the UM Sports website (or, soon, the My USC app). You can’t come in if you don’t have a reservation, explains student employee Mak Cicak. And if you’ve booked a spot but don’t show up, you will receive an email: “Hey, we didn’t see you. Please cancel your reservation next time so another member can take your spot.” Every fifteen minutes, eight people are allowed to enter the fitness area to keep it from getting too crowded. That’s a very limited number of people, isn’t it? “No”, says Janus de Jong, a third-year Biomedical Sciences student who has just finished a workout. “You can reserve a spot two weeks in advance. If you plan well, you won’t have any trouble booking a spot.”
After entering the sports centre, you have to check in at the desk. An employee on the other side of the entrance hall makes sure that people keep 1.5 metres apart and don’t use the wrong door to leave the building. At the moment, the main entrance is just that – an entrance. Visitors can exit through the side or the back of the building. Mak explains, “When it’s busy, students check in at one of the high tables outside the main entrance. The tables are labelled: there’s a table for the fitness area, a table for information about sports memberships, and so on. This keeps it from getting too crowded inside.”
There’s a one-way walking system in the entire building and there are walking routes in the gym as well. Cicak demonstrates that sometimes you have to complete the route to fill up your water bottle at the tap. To get to the sports hall, you have to take a different route than usual: you have to walk through the climbing area to get to the hall, and leave the building on the other side.
The only part of the sports centre that is currently not available is the corridor that leads to the changing rooms, where the lockers are located. “People from the sports hall, spin class, the gym, the squash courts, and so on – everyone comes together there. We can’t guarantee a safe distance there”, says Floor van Vulpen, coordinator of the front desk team. That’s why visitors can’t use the showers or store their personal items in the lockers for the time being. “It’s inconvenient if you want to exercise in the morning before going to class, but it’s not too bad”, says De Jong. You can store your items under the benches lining the sides of the fitness area and the sports hall. “I leave valuables at home. I only bring my key and my phone.”
Members who couldn’t use the sports facilities in the last few months due to the COVID-19 pandemic received an email in early July. They could request a partial reimbursement by replying before 27 July. This didn’t give them much time to reply, and in the middle of the summer break at that. Van Vulpen explains, “The period of time between the email and the deadline was quite short because we wanted to complete everything within the previous academic year. We didn’t manage to do so. Officially, members can no longer request a partial reimbursement, but if we do receive any more requests, we will look into them.”