Cottonwood Heights rec center reopens with move to 'yellow'

By Alex Cabrero, KSL TV | Posted - May 17, 2020 at 6:26 p.m.

COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS — Utah officially entered the “yellow,” low-risk phase of the state’s coronavirus pandemic response, and businesses statewide were reopening as restrictions continued to relax.

If you stopped and listened for just a few seconds on Saturday at the Cottonwood Heights Recreation Center, things kind of sounded normal again.

However, there were still signs everywhere proving it’s not quite here yet.

“This is great, but we got to be careful. Got to be careful,” said Dennis Magaro, who lives in Cottonwood Heights.

Even still, when Magaro heard the Cottonwood Heights Recreation Center was opening again, he couldn’t wait to go.

Especially to the pools for a swim.

“I know I miss the swimming, but I miss my buddies I swim with,” said Magaro. “So, it’s good to see them back. I just saw my buddy, Ryan. Same sort of thing. I haven’t seen Ryan in two months.”

Those two months seemed like a long time for a lot of people.

Magaro patted his stomach and joked about what the past two months have been like for him.

“I haven’t been on a scale. Pants are tight,” he said with a laugh. “No, I’m sorry, my pants shrunk.”

The Cottonwood Heights Recreation Center opened Thursday, back when Utah was still under moderate-level guidelines.

Even though Utah officially moved to the “yellow” phase Saturday, the center will still stay at the “orange” level for a little while.

“It took us two weeks just to gear up to the orange phase and we were just as surprised as many that we moved into the yellow,” said Ben Hill, executive director for the Cottonwood Heights Parks & Recreation Service Area.

Workers were wiping down common areas as often as possible.

Some cardio workout equipment had been moved from the gym to an open area above the ice rink to allow for better social distancing.

There were also bottles of sanitizing spray, wipes and hand sanitizer in multiple locations.

“We’re just trying to be courteous. Everyone who has come in so far has just been so grateful that we’re open,” said Hill.

Milada Tichy was sure grateful.

Her daughter, Veronica, is an ice-skater.

Unlike other sports, when the rink was closed, there wasn’t really another way for her to practice.

“You can do exercises and strength training, but nothing replaces the ice, definitely,” said Tichy.

Tichy also works in the medical field as a nurse practitioner, so she knows full well how important it is to still be safe.

Yellow or not.

“I think nothing changes until we know the virus has been contained or under control,” she said.

Until that day comes, normal is something we can kind of see and hear, but not quite experience.

At least not yet.

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