Fort Benning Public Affairs
FORT BENNING, Ga. – Fort Benning this week has begun reopening many additional recreational and other services, including gyms and swimming pools, but with careful safeguards against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Col. Matthew Scalia, commander of U.S. Army Garrison Fort Benning, announced the reopenings in a video published June 12 online.
"It's about time I gave you an update on where we stand with some of our services reopening for our Fort Benning community, and I'm very happy to share some good news with you all this week," Scalia says in the video.
Fitness centers reopened June 15.
For the first part of the day, the fitness centers are open only to active-duty service members, from 5:30 to 10 a.m., after which they're open to all other proper ID cardholders, Scalia said.
Safety precautions – which include the need to continually clean the gyms and maintain social distancing – will be readily noticeable.
"Ladies and gentlemen, you will see very different procedures in the gym," said Scalia. "It requires a lot of cleaning. It requires a lot of individual discipline by everybody."
Staff will ensure safety rules are upheld, he said.
"They have guidance from me," he said. "If we have people who are just not obeying the rules, not listening to the managers and the staff there, they will be asked to leave."
A video by Fort Benning's Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, explaining the fitness center procedures is online.
Scalia encouraged community members to watch the video.
"They have posted a great video, walking you through just one of the gyms and what it looks like," he said. "But you'd expect the same standard at all of our gyms."
Scalia also had an update on swimming pools.
Lap swim at Carey Pool opened June 15, but by appointment only, he said. The Breezeway Pool is scheduled to reopen for recreational swimming June 23.
Details on Fort Benning's pools and its Aquatics Program are available by calling 706-545-1400, or on FMWR's main swimming pools page. The page includes a link for making reservations for Carey Pool and Breezeway Pool.
"If you're not registered, please do so 'cause that'll help you in making appointments here," said Scalia. "Just kinda sets you up, it's the initial application and sets you up for those easy reservations. There will be hour blocks only. An hour in-between for good cleaning of all the areas. The locker rooms will be open only for the bathroom use, so we want people in there, get their good swim in, and move out so they can get it ready for the next group."
"We are very happy about this," he said. "And again it'll be very different than how we've operated in the past. This too will be by appointment."
Scalia had an additional word about the Breezeway Pool.
"Making your reservation, it's by family, and what you'll see when you go to the pool is little pods for seating areas, for a family, for one household," he said. "And from that, you get out of the pool, you come back to your area. But it's to minimize that crossing of people and potential spreading of the virus.
The Mall Bowling Center and the Bowling and Entertainment Center reopened June 16.
"Again, another area where there'll be a lot of mitigation measures," said Scalia, who with the garrison's Command Sgt. Maj. Connie L. Rounds, took a first-hand look.
Both were "very comfortable with the measures they have in place, and all of these of course approved by our medical personnel," Scalia said.
He also announced "great news" that child development centers will expand services to two additional sets of patrons: Department of Defense civilians and those active-duty personnel who have a working spouse.
"So this isn't what we were able to offer before," he said, "but this does certainly help many of you out there. The CDCs will only be at really half-capacity. That is why we can't expand it to as many patrons as we used to."
In the video, Scalia also offers updates on the status of eateries, playgrounds and numerous other services.
Additional information from Fort Benning's FMWR is online.
Also available online is Fort Benning's COVID-19 Information Resource Page, which includes a tab on Latest Reopenings.