The Jack Doyle Athletics and Recreation Centre has been shut since Jan. 5 due to provincial COVID-19 mandates. It will reopen on Monday, Jan. 31 to vaccinated Algonquin College students and staff. Photo credit: Aadil Naik

The Jack Doyle Athletics and Recreation Centre is set to reopen Monday, Jan. 31 at 9 a.m. after shutting down earlier in the month due to provincial COVID-19 regulations.

It will initially serve only students and staff of Algonquin College. Proof of vaccinations, masks and social distancing will remain mandatory.

The ARC will be accessible to eligible members Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. It will remain closed on Sundays.

Students and staff can go back to using Algonquin College’s newest building and all its facilities, from the free weights and turf training areas on the first floor to the 346-metre-long Discovery Track and fitness area on the second floor.

There is one section that will not be open to people.

“The climbing and bouldering wall will be delayed due to some technical issues that need to be addressed before the wall can open up safely for all students and staff,” said Timothy Lee, manager athletic operations – fitness. “Hopefully, it will open in the very near future for all to enjoy.”

The Ontario government had mandated all gyms be closed down from Jan. 5 in order to prevent further spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant. Prior to this, gyms had been allowed to operate at reduced capacity, following social distancing protocols.

For the past few months, ARC’s fitness and wellness staff have curated weekly online workouts that individuals can follow from the comfort and safety of their homes.

These online activities are conducted by the Students’ Association through its social media channels and are free to everyone. Upcoming activities are listed in the events calendar on the SA’s website.

Some of the more popular activities, according to SA staff, are the fitness challenges and workouts of the week, as these are more conducive to being conducted online. People can also choose when they want to participate. There are archived recordings if they would like to do more than one at a time.

Due to the positive response these online activities received and the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 reopening timelines and restrictions, Lee said some of them will continue to be offered.

“It will allow participants to have some consistency in their routines despite restrictions and perhaps other concerns such as travel,” he said.

The ARC was conceptualized to offer the best service to students and staff, day in and out, and Lee says the plan is still, “to meet and exceed the needs and expectations of our students and staff.”