Calgary libraries to reopen March 10; some city recreation to resume next week

The city is also reopening five recreation centres for some expanded group and individual fitness activities

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Calgary libraries will reopen and city recreation centres will resume some fitness classes next week following the province’s limited easing of public health restrictions.

Libraries can now welcome visitors through their doors, but can’t exceed a maximum 15 per cent capacity, excluding staff. Locations were ordered to close in December after a rapidly rising wave of COVID-19 prompted Alberta’s government to introduce lockdown-style restrictions.

After being shut down for nearly three months, Calgary Public Library branches will reopen with reduced hours beginning on March 10, and will resume regular hours on March 15.

The city is also reopening five recreation centres for some expanded group and individual fitness activities, starting with the Thornhill Aquatic and Fitness Centre on March 8.

The Bob Bahan, Canyon Meadows, Killarney and Sir Winston Churchill recreation centres will open the following day. Calgarians can start booking individual fitness appointments like weight room access and water exercise on Thursday, and appointments for group fitness will open next week. Classes, however, won’t begin until March 15.

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Under the current provincial restrictions, group fitness is allowed only by appointment and for low-intensity workouts. Health Minister Tyler Shandro said that’s defined as “stuff that doesn’t make you breathe significantly harder than you usually do.”

Masks have to be worn at all times in recreation centres, including while using fitness equipment — with the exception of being in the pool.

Public skating and lane swimming still won’t be allowed.

YMCA Calgary announced Wednesday that they would reopen all their facilities for drop-in fitness and some group classes on March 12. Brookfield Residential YMCA and Shane Homes YMCA will open a little earlier, on March 8.

Library details

Libraries have accommodated curbside pickup throughout the pandemic, and CPL communications director Mary Kapusta said that service will continue for people who want to use it.

She added it will take a little longer for the libraries to be up and running because of the planning involved.

“We had modified our whole system to deliver as much service as possible, which for us meant curbside,” she said. “We have 21 locations — hundreds of staff have to be changed to different schedules.”

Visitors will have to follow rules including mandatory masks, no eating or drinking inside and no on-site gatherings.

More information about hours at specific branches and what services they offer can be found on the CPL website.

CPL is also encouraging anyone who comes to limit their visit to an hour, given the strict capacity cap.

Kapusta said all the staff who had to be temporarily laid off in December are now being called back. Fewer people were affected compared to the last time libraries had to close in the early days of the pandemic, when CPL laid off 75 per cent of its staff.

“That’s because (last April) we didn’t have the full roster of contactless and digital services we have now,” Kapusta said. “We’ve rejigged our entire programming approach so we can offer virtual programs now.”

Twitter: @meksmith

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