On Monday (March 1, 2021) the province announced a "cautionary" move to Step 2 in the gradual strategy laid out to ease COVID-19 restrictions.

Included in this next step is relaxing some restrictions on indoor fitness facilities, so what exactly does that mean for the Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre? 

Since February 8, the facility has been limited to only school-related recreation and one-on-one training.

CEO of SLS Family Sports Centre, Blair Felesky says that while this next step is still limited, it does open a few more doors.

"We stopped predicting or trying to anticipate any broad-based measures a long time ago," says Felesky. "We recognize that this is a very fluid condition, but we view it as very good news. It still allows us to get people moving in the community."

Felesky says that the aim, for now, is to get people back in the facility and moving again and in time they will add more layers as restrictions ease further.

Starting this Friday, (March 5, 2021) Cochranites with an appointment will be able to hit the gym at SLS Family Sports Centre as well participate in low-intensity group fitness classes.

If you're unclear on what exactly falls under the "low-intensity" umbrella, you're not alone. Felesky says they have spent the last couple of days ironing out those specifics.

"Low-intensity, I can tell you even yesterday we spent an entire day trying to decipher what that meant," says Felesky. "So, what that means is there's no running, no spin-classes, it is walking and movement programs and things of that nature that will ease into this right now.

Felesky recognizes that having a membership at this time still doesn't open up many options, but he says that they are available.

"We will make them available but they're only currently available for the fitness area and track only for the time being," says Felesky. We will layer into that membership some programming once the aquatic centre opens.

Felesky says that the aquatics team will be using the next couple of weeks for reorientation and recertification, and they are planning to have pools open for "household splash, therapy booking and water exercise" by March 15. He says that for right now, they're planning to have other programs evolve the following week. 

Tight restrictions on sports, games, competitions, team practices and league play means that the Cochrane arena is still limited to cohorts.

Felesky is asking the public to respect that "no spectators" are permitted at this time. He says that this isn't a Spray Lakes policy but a government mandate.

All fitness at the facility is by appointment only, with absolutely no drop-ins allowed. The online booking system will open tomorrow (Thursday, March 4) for facility use on Friday.

Felesky says that they are still working out the details on how far in advance bookings will be permitted and they will update the public as those details become available.