Casa Palomas II

GVR plans to reopen four pools – Desert Hills, West Center, Santa Rita Springs and Madera Vista – next week after shutting down in mid-March. This photo was taken in September. 

It's been a long two months for GVR members waiting to use pools and other amenities, but interim CEO Jen Morningstar said four pools and two fitness centers are opening back up next week.

The Wednesday announcement was part of Morningstar's report on the organization's limited reopening after shutting down in mid-March.

"We are planning a very measured and steady, cautious reopening," she said. "Mainly, outdoor activities. Within the next few days, we'll announce just what exactly."

Morningstar told the board that four pools – Desert Hills, Santa Rita Springs, Madera Vista and West Center – would open next week.

Desert Hills and Santa Rita Springs would be the first two openings on Monday, followed by the other two on Wednesday.

Morningstar told the Green Valley News that GVR had to wait for state and county guidelines before beginning the reopening process.

"We're just dealing with the logistics of how are we going to make sure the capacity is correct and how are we going to make sure people don't stand in a line to get in a pool," she said. "That has always been the plan, that we would open slowly and carefully."

And while the staff is taking a cautious approach, Morningstar said she understands members want to return to the pools.

More openings

It's not just the pools scheduled to reopen next week.

Fitness areas at Santa Rita Springs and East Center will open on Wednesday.

"Originally, we planned on Las Campanas, but they asked, my team, asked, that we switch it to East Center," she said to the board. "So, I reported to the board earlier Las Campanas. That's incorrect."

GVR plans to have limited hours and staff who come into contact with members will wear masks. There had been issues in the past with PPE being in short supply.

Morningstar said it's no longer the issue for GVR and that they have an adequate supply for reopening. However, they would continue to monitor supplies and usage closely to ensure their PPE remains in stock.

GVR will also require members to sign a release of liability form at facility entrances. Members can take a photo of their completed waiver or fill out a second form with an employee signature to show on subsequent visits.

Morningstar said the waiver is a standard document GVR created with its lawyers.

"It's just a basic waiver of liability saying you're playing at your own risk, and if you develop symptoms of COVID-19, you may or may not have contracted those symptoms here," she said. "You're assuming the risk on your own behalf."

Staff is also asking members to limit their time in the pools and fitness centers to one hour and not to linger when leaving. GVR is also restricting occupancy to two people per swim and walker lane with six feet of distancing, except when passing each other.

"We need to limit the number of people in the pools and fitness rooms for social distancing," Morningstar said during Wednesday's meeting. "So, we're working on maximum capacities, and we'll have sign-up sheets available for people to sign up to go. So they don't have to wait in line outside the facility to be able to use it."

Don't worry if you're not tech-savvy.

Morningstar said the sign-in sheets are physical lists at the pools and fitness centers. GVR wants the sheets to act as appointment lists. The intention is to prevent a build-up of people waiting to use the pools, she said.

"That's the last thing that I want is for people to stand outside and watch people swimming and can't get in," she said.

President Don Weaver told the board a workshop discussing reopening in more detail is planned but not scheduled yet.

Morningstar told the board that staff is still working to put together the numbers on how many members showed up to the Pickleball Center and West Center tennis reopenings on May 16.

"Not everyone at pickleball swiped in, and not everyone at tennis swiped in," Morningstar reported. "So, we're going to look at waiver forms and at least publish some kind of numbers, so people know."

A member commented that information on reopening had been sparse and untimely. The member said information on GVR's website was out of date as well.

Morningstar told the board she was working on communication and the website was being updated once per week. However, where the updates were on the site might not have been apparent, she said.

"I have someone that is dedicated to looking at how to make the website more friendly, more understandable and easier to navigate," Morningstar said to the board. "And like I said a little bit ago, that should happen by the end of the week."

On Thursday morning, GVR's website reflected these changes with updates and more detailed information available on the site's homepage.

According to Thursday's update, GVR plans to reopen more amenities every two weeks, depending on the current conditions. Any reopenings would take place on Wednesdays, and the information would be updated daily.

As of now, GVR facilities are only permitting access to members; guests are not allowed.

While more amenities are opening next week, Morningstar said GVR staff is still not at 100 percent since furloughs began in April.

Looking to volunteers

However, there is some extra help available.

Morningstar said GVR volunteers had been a valuable asset in the reopening process.

While the same amenities would have opened regardless of having volunteers, it wouldn't have been as smooth a process without them, she said.

The volunteers also have the benefit of better relating COVID-19 precautions on a peer-to-peer level, Morningstar said.

Although GVR plans to reopen four pools this week, East Center's pool remains closed indefinitely due to a leak.

The board unanimously approved a motion by director Randy Howard to move forward with replacing the 56-year-old pool. Howard said it would be possible to have a complete demolition and replacement completed by the end of this year.

The board approved a $500,000 earmark for the project's estimated cost.

Jorge Encinas | 520-547-9732