Town and Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre (SLSFSC) officials didn't receive details on what was coming down the pipes yesterday from the provincial government. Currently, those details are being deciphered.

SLSFSC is readjusting its phased opening, says CEO Blair Felesky. 

"Because the rec centre is allowed to open, we will do it in the most mindful, safe manner, and we still will approach it in a phased approach. That phased approach has obviously just been adjusted."

SLSFSC had already established a phased reopening, based around the date of Sept. 1 originally estimated by the province.

"Now we can think a little bigger picture as to what that looks like.  But, quite frankly, this has happened so quickly, that our team is still assessing and making sure we fully understand what exactly sort of protocols might be intact before we make any decisions going forward."

Up until yesterday, the focus was on reopening the Cochrane Arena and offering outdoor fitness programs.

This Friday, June 12, indoor recreation, fitness, and sports, including gyms and arenas, will be able to reopen with restrictions in place. Team sports will also be relaunched, again with restrictions in place.

Felesky says it will be a gradual opening.

"We could see pockets of our building opening where we can control volume," says Felesky. "I would call it more boutique sort of offerings in the fitness area. We're still a ways from opening the doors and allowing the free flow of traffic."

"We'll align some things over the coming days, but there is still some lag associated with opening the entire facility."

Ice has been maintained in the Cochrane Arena and opens Friday to user groups. Its opening will provide the opportunity to test health and safety protocols and establish a comfort level with both the public and staff.

"Our goal is to still do this in a very thoughtful way, making sure all the protocols we put on paper we can execute on--we're very confident in doing that. Once we're successful and we demonstrated that to not just the community, but our team, we'll then expand that into more user groups in July in the Totem rinks."

They also face the challenge of bringing their staff back on stream after they were forced to layoff about 170 people.

Mayor Jeff Genung says they didn't know exactly what was going to be announced but were glad it came on a Tuesday.

"There's an expectation from the public, but we're not always in a position as a municipality to follow through quickly when an announcement comes on a Friday."

The opening is good news for the mental and physical well-being of the community, he says.

"People have been utilizing the outdoors and our pathways and parks but it will be good, as the temperatures turn in the fall, to be up and running in full swing at the rec centre.

Additionally, it puts more people back to work.

"They offer employment opportunities for 200-plus people ranging from youth right up to management levels. It's super important. I think they're the second or third largest employer of the community. The impact of that alone will be a boost to many."