Lifting mandates brings people back to recreation centres

Scott Salmon surveying the pool in Strathmore on Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022. Scott is currently a Lifeguard 2 at the Strathmore aquatic centre and has been working at the pool since high school. (Photo by Ty Davidson/The Press)

Recreational facilities in Calgary and surrounding towns are seeing a resurgence in the usage of recreational facilities with the COVID mandates being lifted.

With Jason Kenney’s most recent announcement that Alberta will be lifting its COVID mandates, primarily its mask bylaws, recreational facilities are already seeing a higher percentage of people returning to use their amenities.

The Strathmore aquatic centre is among many others already beginning to see a sudden influx of patrons coming to use the pool and its features.

“Ever since Kenney said that the mandates were going to be lifted, things around here really started to pick up,” said Scott Salmon, a senior lifeguard at the Strathmore aquatic centre. “We are consistently hitting our capacity of 108 patrons during our public swim times, and getting busier during lane swim times, something that just wasn’t possible when people were worried about the restrictions and the mandates.”

Scott posing for a headshot in Strathmore on Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022. Scott has been lifeguarding for most of his high school and university life, Lifeguarding is a great way to earn some extra money and maintain safety skills – Scott Salmon. (Photo by Ty Davidson/The Press)

Overall the COVID hospitalizations have been on the decline, this is allowing for the continuation of Jason Kenney’s reopening plan, which will now be in step two, this benefits recreational facilities such as the Strathmore aquatic centre.

“This is especially good for these businesses, allowing them to open at full capacity can only be beneficial for them, not having to worry about social distancing and capacity limits,” says Taryn Smyth, a regular patron of Strathmore’s aquatic centre. “I have definitely noticed that things around here are starting to pick up, especially when it’s public swim time, normally the lane swim time was pretty low on people but now there are twenty to thirty people every day.”

Scott performing water tests in the kiddie pool in Strathmore on Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022. Water tests are very important to keeping the pools at safe PH and acidic levels as it varies throughout the day, first step is to collect the water sample and then you would add chemicals and measure the ph levels. (Photo by Ty Davidson/The Press)

The mandate lift does not mean that COVID will be going away, so people should still be mindful of themselves and others. It only means that the data presented to the health minister suggests that COVID is on enough of a downward trend to allow the loosening of capacity limits and mask bylaws.

“We do hope to see some more people around here though, it’s been pretty boring these last couple years” adds Scott.

About Ty Davidson 4 Articles
As a news reporting and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Ty Davidson is working as a writer for The Press during the 2021-22 academic year.