Copper Sky program
Stephanie Murphy leads a fitness class at Copper Sky. Photo by Michelle Chance

Ahead of Thursday morning’s news that Pinal County had earned the three benchmarks necessary for businesses to reopen, the staff at Copper Sky Recreation Complex was already planning to reopen – with more stringent restrictions.

That included a reservation-only system for a one-hour period as the facility reopened that same day.

But mandatory reservations will be lifted this coming Wednesday with the county achieving a moderate level of community transmission of coronavirus and fewer restrictions on businesses who are still trying to reopen.

As of that day, Copper Sky will operate at 25% capacity, first-come first-served, which means as many as 200 members can be in the building at any time (with 70 of those on the fitness floor).

(State Department of Health Services guidelines for gyms in counties with moderate transmission status limit capacity to 25% but also recommends reservations.)

Full services will resume, include Child Watch, personal training sessions and expanded offerings for group exercise classes. The activity room and gym floor, however, will remain closed for now.

Face masks, temperature checks, increased sanitation procedures and other mitigation requirements from the state health department will remain in place .

Importantly, the city is notifying Copper Sky members that billing will resume Wednesday on their regular cycle. Members, however, will have the option of paying a $10 fee to suspend their account for three more months or cancel their membership according to the terms of their contract.

The fitness center has set the following hours of operation through the Labor Day holiday weekend:

  • Friday and Saturday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (with senior hours from 11:15 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.)
  • Sunday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. (senior hours: 10:45 a.m. to 1 p.m.)
  • Monday (Labor Day), 7 a.m. to noon
  • Tuesday, 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. (senior hours: 10:45 a.m. to 1 p.m.)

The Aquatic Center will be open – from Sept. 3 to Nov. 1 – for the following hours of operation, with additional restrictions:

• Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. (lap swim, limited lanes available) and from
6 to 7:30 p.m. (lap swim only, limited lanes available)

• Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. (lap swim only, limited lanes available)

• Sundays, 7 to 10 a.m.  (comp pool only)

Restrictions include:

  • One person per lane.
  • Tables reserved for lap swimmers.
  • 12 and under must be supervised by adult on deck
  • Swim test policy applies

The 25% limit on capacity and other restrictions will be in place until the county achieves minimal transmission status.

To get to moderate status, the county hit three benchmarks: 100 or less cases per 100,000 population, a positivity rate between 5% and 10% and COVID-like illness-related hospital visits between 5% and 10%. Benchmarks have to be reached for two consecutive weeks, according to the state health department dashboard.

Pinal County has already achieved one of the benchmarks – less than 5% of hospital visits – needed to move to minimal transmission status. It is very close on a second benchmark – a less-than-5% positivity rate – but will require marked improvement in the third, cases per 100,000 population.

For the most recent assessment, Pinal had 41 cases per 100,000 residents for the week of Aug. 9 and 64 cases for the week of Aug. 16. (The business COVID dashboard does not include numbers for the current week.) It will have to reduce that number to less than 10 cases for two straight weeks to attain minimal status, which allows gyms to operate at 50% capacity.