FRC Coronavirus Update

June 29, 3:30pm

The FRC plans to reopen in August.

In an effort to remain consistent with the University of Maine System’s guidelines to work-from-home where possible through July, and to best ensure the safest possible environment for students returning to campus Fall semester, the FRC will remain closed throughout the month of July and plans to reopen at some point in August (precise date TBD).

The FRC is subject to higher and more complex standards than typical private fitness centers that only need to comply with the minimum state regulations.  As part of the UMaine system, we have additional layers of directives, standards, and priorities to meet.  High on our list of priorities is the desire not only to keep all members and staff safe, but to minimize risks to the larger mission of the University and its goal of having students, faculty, and staff able to return to on-campus operation this fall.

We know that this is disappointing news to those eager to resume routines in the facility and the social interactions it supports. We understand and sympathize with those feelings.  We miss you too. The decision to delay our reopening was not easy, or made lightly. After weighing the data, current standards, best-practices, and practicalities, it was decided that we should extend the closure through July to be best prepared for fall semester.

For our members, the policy of extending memberships for the duration of the closure – or simply freezing perpetual memberships – remains in place. Should you have any questions about your membership, please contact umffrc@maine.edu. We look forward to the time when we’re able to serve you once again.  Until then, we hope you continue to maximize Maine’s outdoor/natural resources and stay active while physically distanced.

 

May 28, 9:25am

The FRC will remain closed through the month of June. While we had hoped that we might be able to open in June, both the Governor’s and Chancellor’s offices have determined that it is not safe for fitness centers to do so at this time. The earliest possible date of reopening is July 1, but we await further direction from both the state and the system. At this point, we are not able to provide a tentative reopening date for the FRC.

FRC memberships will be extended for the duration of the closure in the case of 1, 3, 6, and 12-month memberships. Perpetual memberships are on pause. All FRC activity, including Mainely Outdoors, continues to be suspended during the closure.

We appreciate your patience and understanding during this unprecedented time. We know that you – like us – are keenly interested in having the FRC open once again. While we hope that we’ll be able to open our doors in July, we’re committed to doing so only when we can assure a safe environment in accordance with the laws and directives issued from the state and system.

Until such a time when we’re able to welcome you back into the building, we hope that you’re staying healthy and active on your own. For information on joining our live fitness classes via zoom, please contact michael.colella@maine.edu. Take care, be well, and we hope to see you soon.

 

April 30, 9:15am

As many of you will likely have heard in Gov. Mills address on Tuesday, targets have been set for reopening Maine businesses in a phased roll-out. Fitness centers like the FRC will be considered for reopening in stage 2, provided that they meet some requirements set forth by the Maine Department of Economic & Community Development and the Maine CDC. While these parameters have not yet been set, we do know that the earliest possible date to reopen the FRC is June 1.

Consequently, the FRC will remain closed throughout the month of May. During this time, we will be working to ensure that we can comply with all state requirements for reopening, and to determine any additional measures to help ensure the safety of our patrons and staff we may find necessary. We will be working hard to create practices and protocols that keep everyone as safe as possible while providing the maximum level of service.

Much is still unknown about the requirements for fitness centers in stage 2. Stage 2 includes a prohibition of gatherings of more than 50 people, and it’s possible that we may need to limit access to 50 people at a time. Considering the size of our facility, it’s also possible that 50 people spread out throughout the building may not constitute a “gathering”. This question and many others must be answered in order for us to be permitted to open, and to do safely.

Should you have any questions or suggestions for our reopening discussions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. It’s important that we consider every possible angle in these discussions. Detailed information about memberships will be provided once we have more certainty about our official reopening date.

All of us at the FRC know how important and beneficial your fitness, recreation, and well-being are to you. It’s why we do what we do. I expect that we’ve missed providing these opportunities to you just as much as you’ve missed having them. It’s been a trying time for a great number of reasons, and we hope that the prospect of a return to the FRC provides at least a small light at the end of the tunnel.

Until we are able to open our doors once again, we hope that you’re staying healthy and active. We continue to provide virtual group fitness classes every Monday-Friday at noon via zoom. To access these classes, please follow us on Facebook and join our Facebook fitness group. We’ve also created a YouTube channel where these recorded zoom classes can be accessed at any time.

From all of us at the FRC, we hope you are staying happy and healthy, and we look forward to seeing you all again soon.

 

April 1, 11:15am

In keeping with Gov. Mills’ “Stay Healthy at Home” mandate, the FRC will be closed through at least April 30.

 

March 20, 2:50pm

The FRC will be extending the period of closure through at least April 5, consistent with the period of time that the UMF campus remains closed to the public.

 

March 16, 3:45pm

UMF Announces Fitness and Recreation Center to Close Through March 29

The University of Maine at Farmington announced today that its Fitness and Recreation Center will close Tuesday, March 17, through Sunday, March 29, in an effort to minimize social contact in the community and help safeguard patrons and staff from the spread of COVID-19.

All FRC programs, reservations, rentals, and activities will be suspended during the closure. Below is a brief Q&A that will hopefully address many of your questions about the closure. If you have questions not answered below, please contact Ben White, Director of Fitness and Recreation, at benjamin.j.white@maine.edu.

Why have you decided to close?

State, Federal, and public health officials worldwide recommend that social contact be minimized in an effort to stem the spread of COVID-19. Despite our initial measures to prevent/minimize transmission of the disease, we’ve determined that these efforts will not be sufficient. Therefore, UMF leadership and the FRC staff feel that the most responsible measure is to close the facility in an effort to ensure that we don’t contribute to the spread of the virus.

How will my membership be handled?

In general, memberships will be extended for the duration of the closure. In other words, memberships will be extended for the number of days the FRC is closed. For people who hold perpetual memberships, we will not charge individuals for any future time we are closed. Credits for the March closure will be issued at the next automatic billing cycle when the FRC reopens. 

Given the variety of different membership options, we realize that these approaches might not accommodate every membership type. For patrons wishing to request changes to their membership, there will be an online form available in the coming days. For immediate questions, please email Leah Brackett, Assistant Director and Coordinator of Intramural Sports and Children’s Programs, at leah.brackett@maine.edu.

What about programs like swim lessons and Red Cross classes?

All programs are canceled during the closure. We will provide account credits in full for future sessions that have been paid for and prorated amounts for ongoing lessons. Participants will be contacted in the upcoming days with specifics regarding rescheduling and refund options. For questions regarding aquatics or Red Cross programs, please email Jennifer Pageot, Assistant Director of Aquatics and Health and Safety Educator, at jennifer.pageot@maine.edu.

 

March 15, 12:00pm

The FRC remains open. Discussion about continued operation are ongoing. New membership sales and guest pass sales are suspended. All rental groups are cancelled indefinitely.

 

March 13, 4:00pm

The FRC continues to make every effort to maintain normal operations throughout the Coronavirus pandemic. We are working with University leadership and our professional association, along with taking recommendations from the CDC and government authorities on how best to continue to serve our patrons and stay safe. Below is a list of precautions we are taking to maintain the health of our members and staff:

  • Dramatically increased the amount of cleaning performed by day-time staff
  • Provided education to all FRC staff about best practices to prevent disease transmission
  • Instructed staff to be more vigilant in asking members to wipe down equipment
  • Instructed staff to minimize physical contact with patrons and participants
  • Installed additional hand sanitizer dispensers in the fieldhouse and strength room
  • Discontinued the practice of lending towels
  • Disabled the drinking fountains. The ability to fill up water bottles will remain, so please bring a bottle.
  • Enforced social distancing on the cardio equipment through additional spacing between machines

Certain FRC programs have been suspended or limited, however. Cradles and Crayons is suspended effective immediately, while fitness programming will be limited. A new group fitness schedule is being generated and should be available during the week of 3/16.

Additional updates will be made as thing evolve. Please check the FRC website and social media for update. Contact FRC Director, Ben White at 207.778.7494 or benjamin.j.white@maine.edu with questions.

 

March 12, 10:55am

The FRC is committed to maintaining normal operations throughout this time of heightened concern over disease transmission. At the same time, we are taking all reasonable measure to combat the spread of disease; be it the cold, seasonal flu, or the COVID-19 virus. Our mentality is “be prepared, but don’t panic.”

In an effort to be as prepared as possible, we have already undertaken the following measures:

  • Dramatically increased the amount of cleaning performed by day-time staff
  • Provided education to all FRC staff about best practices to prevent disease transmission
  • Instructed staff to be more vigilant in asking members to wipe down equipment
  • Instructed staff to minimize physical contact with patrons and participants
  • Installed additional hand sanitizer dispensers in the fieldhouse and strength room

Each of these measures is designed to fight the spread of disease without disrupting the operations of the FRC. We have, however, in keeping with industry best-practices, terminated one practice entirely, and that is the distribution of towels. Neither hand nor shower towels will be handed out to members by FRC staff, so please bring with you what you will need.

Being a part of the University, we are obligated to comply with any instructions issued by either UMF or the University of Maine system. Currently, we have no reason to believe that we will be given any directive to restrict our normal operations, but that possibility exists. Should any such directive be issued, we will communicate as quickly and clearly as possible.

Should you have any questions about the FRC’s response to disease transmission, please contact FRC Director, Ben White, at 207.778.7494 or benjamin.j.white@maine.edu.