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Another club in town has been given the green light to open up and it’s one which a lot of people will no doubt be happy to hear about.

The Yellowknife Gymnastics Club has been given a phase two exemption by the Office of the Chief Public Health Officer; Steve Thompson, the club’s president, posted on Facebook Friday that the club had received its waiver letter this past Wednesday.

Jessica Smith, the club’s recreation director, helped put together the return-to-play proposal with Janet Murray, the club’s general manager, and said getting the news was exciting.

“We have a lot of athletes who are excited to get back into the gym and start training again,” she said.

As with every other sport and club in town which has re-opened, the club will be taking it in steps with the competitive teams going in first. That will be followed by the pre-competitive group, then the recreational programs with the final step being public functions such as drop-ins and birthday parties.

“That’s our focus for the next couple of months,” said Smith. “We won’t be doing any work where there’s spotting required, it will all be about keeping constant movement and keeping up flexibility, working on conditioning and cardio.”

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No new skills will be taught, she added, and each group will have a maximum of eight people with no overlap in terms of time.

“It’s going to be about two to three days per week right now,” she said.

Megan Rogers flies through the air as she performs her floor routine during action in the 2019 NWT Gymnastics Championships at the Yellowknife Gymnastics Club. Rogers and her fellow competitive gymnasts will be the first ones to return to action thanks to the gymnastics club receiving a Phase 2 exemption from the Office of the Chief Public Health Officer this past Wednesday.
NNSL file photo

A total of three stations will be open for the athletes – bars (parallel and uneven), floor and vault. Each athlete will stay with their group bubble and will move to each apparatus together when it’s time to switch up.

The floor will also be marked so gymnasts know where to go, said Smith.

“We’re lucky that we have a good size of square footage to be able to do that and have everyone spread out so they keep proper distancing,” she said.

Once a class is over, the equipment will be sanitized, which Smith said should take around 15 to 30 minutes each time, and athletes will leave through the side door of the club; the front door inside the Multiplex isn’t being used right now. The side door will also be used as the entrance, where coaches will let people in when it’s time to start a new class.

The entrance/exit is only for the athletes with no public viewing allowed at the present time, said Smith.

The athletes will have to come dressed ready to go as the change rooms will remain closed and they will have to bring their own water as the drinking fountains aren’t in use. Each athlete will get their own personal chalk to use when practicing.

Smith said the club is looking to have a filling station installed so people can re-fill if they need to.

The full proposal will be posted on the club’s Facebook page in the coming days.

In putting the proposal together, Smith said the club was looking at what other provinces were doing in order to get back up and running, along with Gymnastics Canada.

“We took a lot of direction from Gymnastics BC, which is where we have our insurance with,” she said. “We also wanted to see what Gymnastics Yukon was doing because they were the first to open up. They’ve been open for about a month now and they’ve had success so far.

Smith was quick to caution that everything could go back to the way it was before at a moment’s notice but the club will be ready for that if it comes.

But she thinks the community is just happy to know that things will be coming back.

“The community has very much been interested in wondering when we were going to re-open, much like other fitness centres and gyms in the city which are already open,” she said. “People probably thought because we’re in the Multiplex that we were city-owned and we couldn’t open but we own the space we’re in and we take no direction from the city at all. We know we’re a big part of the community and we are excited to get back to business.”

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