EAST PEORIA EastSide Centre has reopened the main level of its fitness area, along with its gym and indoor running track.


The East Peoria facility had been closed since March 20, when Gov. JB Pritzker issued a shelter-in-place order in response to the coronavirus. With Illinois in Phase Two of Pritzker’s five-stage Restore Illinois plan, EastSide was able to reopen portions of its facility.


EastSide member Sean Pickerill of East Peoria had been maintaining his physical fitness through calisthenics and running, he saw the partial reopening as a positive development.


"It’s nice to be able to get back out of the house and get back to working out after the lockdown," Pickerill said. "I miss (the gym) because here we have access to weights, treadmills and machines. There’s a lot more variety of things you can do here (as opposed to) what you can do at home."


The facility’s staff has kept public safety in mind during the partial reopening, according to EastSide Centre Executive Director Doug McCarty. Some machines have been removed from the fitness area to accommodate social distancing precautions, and tables and chairs have been removed from the lobby area to discourage people from gathering there.


Cleaning protocols include additional cleaning of restrooms, stairwells and other touch points throughout the day, and sanitizing stations. Building access is restricted to one door, and members have been asked to c lean machines after use.


"The EastSide staff and cleaning staff at Personal Touch Solutions have put in a lot of time and effort to make sure people feel they can work out safely at EastSide," McCarty added. "In the few days we have been open, there have been many positive comments about the extra measures we have taken to make sure things are safe and clean."


Returning to the gym for the first time since Pritzker issued his shelter-in-place order, EastSide member Kylie Giebelhausen of East Peoria was happy for the chance to get out of the house. She was also impressed with EastSide’s social distancing and cleaning protocols.


"I wasn’t worried before, because I take my own precautions," she said. "But, the way they have it set up, they have the person at the front desk giving you the rundown and (reminding you) to keep your distance from other people working out. As long as you clean the equipment after using it, which people should have been doing before, I feel like it’s safe."


McCarty said that there is no specific timeline for reopening the rest of EastSide Centre. An increase in use will determine how and when the rest of the facility reopens, but he noted that summer tends to be a slower time for fitness centers because many people enjoy exercising outdoors during that time. He believes that will allow EastSide to gradually reopen areas on an as-needed basis.


EastSide Centre is located at 1 EastSide Dr., East Peoria. Current hours of operation are from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays. For more information, visit www.eastsidecentre.com.