Students rejoice over eased ARC restrictions


The Daily Illini File Photo

A student runs around the second level track at the Activities and Recreation Center on Feb. 29, 2020. The ARC has begun to lift major COVID_19 restrictions allowing more students to access the facility.

By Alex Chang, Contributing Writer

Nearly a month after the lifting of the COVID-19 restrictions in the Activities and Recreation Center, operations are resuming some semblance of normalcy. The removal of the reservation system in most areas and the opening up of several new ones are the main changes to note.

The strict regulations on campus recreation were created to comply with the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District and University policies detailing mandated social distancing, capacity decreases and mask use for gyms. ARC responded to this by requiring reservations for almost all areas of the facility, a marked departure from the relatively reservation-free fall semester.

Closures affected almost every area of the gym, such as temporary shutdowns of the badminton and basketball courts, personal training services and the rock-climbing wall, among others. This also extended to treadmills and other cardio machines, where the reservation system effectively made it impossible for people to work out on a set schedule.

Such closures left students such as Yuvraj Mamik, freshman in Engineering, quite unhappy at the time.

“I felt that I had no ability to create a fixed schedule for my workouts because my day had to revolve around whatever reservation I could snag, rather than what classes I was taking,” Mamik said.

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    But such opinions are rapidly becoming a thing of the past, with the quadrupling of capacity in the lower levels and removal of reservations for most cardio levels and dumbbells rapidly alleviating capacity concerns.

    These increases are due to a Feb. 8 lifting of an emergency hold on non-essential activities, a rapid response to a potential COVID-19 spike that has now died down and the transitioning into Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois Plan. Health officials have cited declining cases as a key factor for allowing non-essential activities once more.

    Generally, students are pleased by the changes. The increased capacity has allowed for previously closed activities such as basketball to reopen, a change widely received in a positive way.

    “Basketball is what helped keep me sane during quarantine,” said Gabrielle Trier, freshman in AHS. “I’ve always played basketball throughout my life, and the ARC opening up the courts finally lets me get back to playing the sport I love.”

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