Ray Meyer Fitness Center enforces strict procedures amid Covid-19


Eric Henry

Available ellipticals at the Ray Meyer Fitness Center have been spaced out to abide by social distancing guidelines.

Back in June, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker moved forward with the five-step reopening plan, allowing fitness centers and health clubs in Illinois to open their doors once again. After nearly seven months of quarantine and having to evacuate from campus, it left DePaul students wondering what would be happening to their college town and facilities in the time that they’re gone and how it will be when everyone returns to campus. The Ray-Meyer Fitness Center is now allowing their members to return. 

While the Ray didn’t open its doors until mid-July, they wanted to do everything possible and followed CDC guidelines appropriately by social distancing, adding more cleaning and disinfecting regimens and making sure their staff was prepared and ready for a new work environment. 

“We’ve increased our cleaning by 100 percent,” said Patricia Walczuk, a fitness floor supervisor at The Ray.  

When asked about the facility’s new safety and cleaning precautions, Walczuk noted, “we have little flip signs that indicate if a machine has been used or not, and if it has, we go over and disinfect it. Patrons are also responsible for cleaning the machine before and after they use it.” There are several different hand sanitizer stations laid out throughout all three floors of the gym. 

One of the several precautions students and members have to take before entering the gym is going on the #CampusClear app. This allows students to login in with their student ID number and track if they have any or no symptoms before arriving on campus. 

“Students are required to show their #CampusClear app when they arrive,” said Ginger Lazarus, an entrance attendant at The Ray. “It’s to ensure that the students are filling out how they’re feeling before they come onto campus.”

It’s not only a requirement for students to fill out, the employees have to fill out how they’re feeling before going into work. Both Lazarus and Walczuk always make sure they have their masks on, use hand sanitizer and complete their campus clear evaluation as well. 

“Now, before we head out of our homes, there are a series of questions that always go through our minds, ‘do I have my mask? Hand sanitizer?’ 

And of course what are the new rules at The Ray? “Why do we have to make reservations for the studio? It makes social distancing much easier,” Walczuk said. 

Studio D on the third floor is open for reservations, separating each space perfectly six feet apart. 

“Studio D is usually empty and very spread out. The employees clean every single item after each use. It’s my go to area right now,” Walczuk adds. 

 However, there might be a wait list depending on the time you go. 

“The mornings are the best time to go since there isn’t that early morning traffic as much now,” Julia Knuth, a regular attendee, said.

Returning to closed areas isn’t ideal for everyone. A tip for those who are on the fence of returning to the gym, start out slow at the start. 

“Just always make sure to have your mask and hand sanitizer with you at all times,” Knuth said. “The employees at the Ray are really good at staying on top of what machines need to be cleaned. If you don’t feel comfortable going back, I recommend looking into their virtual fitness group classes.” 

Going to the gym was a great place for a lot of people to disconnect from their real world lives and enjoy. 

It was oddly enough a great place to make some friends. While the Ray might not feel the same for a while, Lazarus agrees that “The fun and inviting atmosphere of the ray is missed, we are very much trying to instill those values, it makes it harder when there are some physical and mental boundaries up it leads to a disconnect with our own staff and with some patrons. 

“But with all of that said, everyone on staff is doing a fantastic job at giving that much more energy to ensure we are giving the best experience to our patrons,” Lazarus said.

The Ray Meyer Fitness Center is ready for its members to return and get back into their daily routines with fitness group classes, studio room time and pool access.