Summit County fitness and recreation centers ready reopening plans while waiting for go-ahead from the state |

Summit County fitness and recreation centers ready reopening plans while waiting for go-ahead from the state

Silverthorne Rec Center plans for reservation system when county enters phase 2

Barbara Marcus goes through a toes to bar routine while participating in a class at CrossFit Breckenridge on Tuesday, June 2. Gyms throughout Colorado have been allowed to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic to a limited capacity. That could expand after the state issues its latest public health order Thursday.
Jason Connolly /

DILLON — A week after the Breckenridge Recreation Center announced it hopes to reopen with a reservation system in mid-June, the Silverthorne Recreation Center and other smaller, private Summit County fitness centers on Tuesday elaborated on their reopening plans ahead of anticipated state action later this week.

Over in Silverthorne, Recreation & Culture Director Joanne Cook said the town rec center’s reopening is contingent upon the county entering into phase two of its Roadmap to Recovery. Under phase two, the county stipulates recreation and fitness centers can reopen with strict physical distancing measures and precautions with maximum gathering sizes of 10-50 people. To reach phase two, the county must have no significant increase in cases for four to eight weeks.

When the county enters that stage of its reopening, Cook said the rec center could reopen two to three days later. She added that Silverthorne has its sights on the week of Monday, June 15, “as a possibility.”

“Behind the scenes, we are preparing and anticipating that once the county moves into phase two, we want to have the facility prepared to offer services safely and responsibly and with reduced contact wherever possible,” Cook said. “Once we are notified the county has moved to phase two, we will do everything we can to open our doors as soon as possible.”

Cook said planned hours are 7 a.m. through 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays with a midday cleaning break from 1-3 p.m. The current plan would permit passholders ages 15 and older while remaining closed to day users, she said. The rec center’s large gathering spaces, such as the gymnasium, would remain closed.

Silverthorne plans to use the SignUpGenius app for passholders to reserve 45-minute time slots, with a maximum of 60 people in the center at one time. Cook also said workout equipment will be spaced out in the facility, including in areas usually reserved for other things, to distance users.

As of Tuesday, Cook said face masks would be required indoors at all times, including during exercise. Cook said that could change if a proposed statewide indoor-recreation plan is updated after members of the public submit feedback this week. The deadline to do that is noon Wednesday, June 3.

“There is a guideline in there that people should wear (facial coverings) as much as possible as long as they are comfortable to do so,” Cook said about the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment’s draft proposal. “So we are keeping close tabs on that regulation. If and when that comes out from the state, as long as the county doesn’t make something stricter, it is a possibility people will be able to recreate without them. We know that’s a concern for some of our members, so if we are able to loosen restrictions safely and still meet county guidelines, we will.”

That state department of health guidance for personal recreation will go into effect Thursday, June 4.

As currently written, the amended order would expand the number of recreationists in groups indoors from three to 10. That bump would be a major boon for smaller local fitness centers, such as CrossFit Breckenridge and Peak Yoga in Dillon.

At Peak Yoga, owner Pinna Gallant said her business has been able to surf the financial wave of closure thanks to virtual classes, but that the past couple of months have been a struggle in many way since closing March 15. Peak Yoga reopened its doors to in-person service Monday, June 1, but only with one morning session with a maximum of three people. If the state health department’s draft is approved Thursday and the county doesn’t decide on more stringent rules, Gallant would be able to host eight customers in a class at once, which would go a long way to meeting demand.

If she does need to get even more creative to reach her community and strengthen her business, she said she is in discussions with the town of Dillon about using the Dillon Amphitheater as an outdoor venue for larger classes. She’s willing to do whatever it takes to reopen safely and strengthen the studio after Peak Yoga lost half of its monthly revenue since the start of the pandemic.

At Peak Yoga, once recreationists got to their mats they were not required to wear facial coverings. Facial coverings during exercise is a talking point in the fitness community.

Alex Marsh participates in a workout at CrossFit Breckenridge on Tuesday, June 2.
Jason Connolly /

At CrossFit Breckenridge, owner Dan Messinger said the fitness center on Airport Road has been open since May 1 because the activity is classified as a personal service. Classes, he said, have been pretty similar to normal with slight tweaks to avoid clients using the same equipment. The shop’s ability to move equipment outside also has helped, though until now he’s only been able to max out classes at three people.

Come Thursday, he’s hoping that can bump up to 10 to meet the increased demand he’s seen for his business while helping the CrossFit community to see more of one another again. As long as athletes are maintaining a 6-foot distance, CrossFit Breckenridge has not been mandating a facial covering.

“And if they changed that guideline, we wouldn’t open,” Messinger said. “I don’t think it’s safe for people to do safe workouts with masks on.”

Messinger credited his landlord for helping him through the early shutdown, saying if the two weren’t able to work together, he wouldn’t have made it through.

Long-term viability is also something Mary Scheifley, the owner of Peak One Fitness in Frisco, is gauging. After she lost 15% of her members early in the shutdown, she’s deciding whether reopening is best for her. For now, she’s taking a wait-and-see approach for her business while watching how the town centers reopen before she finalizes a plan she’s already crafted.

“I have a smaller group base, and I know it can definitely be managed,” she said.

Barbara Marcus, front, participates in a workout as CrossFit Breckenridge owner Dan Messinger, center, watches Tuesday, June 2.
Jason Connolly /

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