The Derby Recreation Commission moved one step closer to reopening.
The DRC board unanimously approved its four-phase recovery plan for reopening at its May 12 meeting. The plan includes four phases, which officially began on May 4. However, the first step to the opening phase was full-time staff returning to work with modified schedules on Wednesday, May 13.
Customers can return to the DRC on May 26 with all amenities except fitness studios. Little activities will be implemented. Summer program registration will also open that day, but these will be conducted online indefinitely. That won’t include Recreation Station due to in-person information needed from participants.
Derby Recreation Commission superintendent Chris Drum also said of the above and additional phases are subject to change, depending on changes made by Governor Laura Kelly.
Drum said the DRC has more to get done before it can reopen its doors.
“There’s a number of things, including not knowing if Phase 2 will be progressed [on time],” Drum said. “… We also have a number of staff that we have to get back, including part-time staff. They are vital to our operations.”
Temperatures will be taken for all staff and customers at the front door. Two readings of 100.4 or higher will prohibit admission to the facility.
Drum said that staff will
be made aware of personal protection equipment requirements, while others will be encouraged to use it when appropriate. Sneeze guards will be in place and distancing markers will be placed on the floor to encourage social distancing.
“We’ll do [temperature readings] at the front doors …,” Drum said. “That staff person will
be protected and there would be some recording that we’d need to do [in the event of a fever] to provide them with information.”
The DRC will be posting signs that request guests clean equipment they use before and after their workouts.
Drum said they’ll discourage use of locker rooms to only when necessary, including only using showers to rinse before the pool.
From Monday through Friday, the DRC will also break off its usual Kids Club opening of 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Only personal basketballs will be allowed inside the gymnasium and bleacher use will also be limited.
Swim lessons will not begin until June 29 due to American Red Cross and CDC recommendations.
“We feel [by that time] that we’ll have updated information that perhaps can be implemented to that instruction,” Drum added.
The recreation center has also cut studio capacity for fitness classes. Cancellations include the JustTri Youth Triathlon and Summer Theater at Camp Center Stage. Postponed events include Let’s DiaBeat This Health Expo, Community Baby Shower, Oaklawn National Night Out and the Hubbard Arts Center Grand Opening.
PHASE 1 begins Monday, May 4
May 13 … full-time staff returns to work with modified “at work” schedules
PHASE 2 begins Monday, May 18
May 18 … Summer program guide release, virtual only (subject to change)
May 26 … Reopens with all amenities open, excluding fitness studios. Limited activities implemented
May 26 … Summer program registration begins for all programs – online only indefinitely, excluding Recreation Station.
PHASE 3 begins Monday, June 1
June 1 … Fitness classes resume at DRC with opening of fitness studios
June 1 ... Kid’s Club opens. Modified hours for extra cleaning.
June 1 … Rock River Rapids anticipated opening date with revised operations implemented
June 8 … Recreation Station begins at the Hubbard Arts Center
PHASE 4 begins Monday, June 15
June 15… Summer programs begin, per modified eight-week schedule, excluding select sports and aquatic programs (i.e., leagues and swim lessons)
June 17 … Sports programs begin with progressive start dates occurring per sport
June 29 … Swim lessons begin with modified session schedule
Traditional Memorial Day services will be somewhat different this year, in light of the pandemic, as both the Derby VFW and American Legion Post 408 will hold short ceremonies at El Paso and Hillcrest cemeteries, respectively.
Services at Hillcrest Cemetery – put on by the American Legion – will include a posting of the colors, prayer/laying of the wreath, a presentation from guest speaker and American Legion State Commander Chuck Shoemaker, rifle squad and the playing of “Taps.”
Additionally, the following restrictions will be in place for the ceremony at Hillcrest Cemetery due to COVID-19:
• No mass gatherings of 10 or more people will be allowed in any given area.
• Mass gatherings (family groups) will maintain a safe zone of no less than 6 feet from any other gatherings.
• The wearing of masks is highly encouraged.
• Hand sanitizing wipes/sanitizing bottles will be available for those needing them.
Derby VFW will follow suit with a truncated ceremony at El Paso Cemetery, with no flyover and no guest speaker. VFW Post 7253 Commander Jay Boyle will make a speech followed by military honors in the shortened services.
The ceremony at El Paso Cemetery will start at 10 a.m. May 25, while services at Hillcrest Cemetery will start at 11 a.m.
The phone was ringing off the hook Monday at The Sport Chop, according to owner Mike Landwehr, as the Derby hair salon was flooded with calls of customers looking to schedule a long overdue haircut nearly two months in the making.
As part of the new phase 1.5 of Gov. Laura Kelly’s reopening plan for Kansas, barbershops and hair salons (and similar businesses) were among the handful of locations allowed to return to business on May 18. While fitness centers and health clubs also reopened (with some exceptions), the original list of businesses and activities allowed to restart in phase 2 – initially set to launch Monday – was trimmed down significantly for phase 1.5.
Barbershops and hair salons in Derby have been highly anticipating the reopening – with most having spent the last two months (after the stay-at-home order went into effect March 25) in limbo and in need of that business revenue.
“It totally wiped us out as far as our business. Our business was fairly busy at the time they shut us down – March 24 was our last day – and at that point our business was about nine months old,” Landwehr said.
“For many hair stylists/cosmetology workers who don’t have a spouse or someone else to rely on, it’s been extremely hard because almost none of us have seen any unemployment,” said Cut Loose Salon owner Kate Bergsten (who’s been fortunate enough to have a spouse deemed an essential worker). “I applied for it the following week – I believe it was March 29 – and I still have yet to see a dollar.”
Reopening will look very similar for many barbershops and hair salons, as Landwehr, Bergsten and Madison Avenue Salon owner Kristel Cotton noted they will be adhering to the guidelines laid out by the state.
While Landwehr noted sterilization requirements will not be that much of a change given the high standards of the Kansas Board of Cosmetology, the requirement that all business be by appointment is somewhat of a shift from The Sport Chop’s walk-in model.
“That’s probably the biggest thing right there. That’s huge because we don’t have the app, the check-in deal like some of these other big corporate salons,” Landwehr said.
Managing appointments are the norm for both Bergsten and Cotton, so that will not be much different. However, there are a number of changes that may take some getting used to – whether it’s customers being asked to wait in their cars because of social distancing or the face mask usage being encouraged among stylists and clients alike.
One of the biggest changes Bergsten and Cotton pointed out, though, is the shifting focus to a hyper-personalized approach. Upon reopening, salons are being discouraged from double booking (doing a cut and color for two different clients at the same time). Combine that with the increased sterilization requirements and Bergsten estimates that could hinder salons’ potential earnings in the new business environment.
“Aside from obviously being off for seven weeks, it’s going to put a big dent in everybody’s income because our flow of people is being cut down – I wouldn’t say by 50 percent, but I would say for sure by probably 40 percent – because we’re supposed to allow 30 minutes between each client to disinfect. That adds up to several hours throughout a day,” Bergsten said.
“The whole thing will be just a different way of doing business for us,” Cotton said.
Bergsten officially reopened Cut Loose Salon on Tuesday while Cotton said she and her fellow stylists plan to get back to work at Madison Avenue Salon on Thursday.
Having a combined 50-plus years doing hair in Derby, both Bergsten and Cotton have established clientele that will certainly keep them busy reopening – though Bergsten did note some concern about potentially losing clients not wanting to wait for an appointment.
Getting back into business, salon owners are aware that things will be different, but all they can do is push forward.
“I’ve been a hairdresser for over 34 years and I have a very large clientele. Some of the other girls have been in business a long time, too, so we’re getting lots and lots of calls,” Cotton said. “We’re just trying to ask everyone to be really patient so that we can get to them in a way that we can space them out and have it be safe for everyone.”
“At some point, you’ve got to move on and get busy; you’ve got to get your business going and take all the precautions you can,” Landwehr said. “We just need to get the business going and get back to normal, as normal as can be, I guess. I don’t know that we’ll ever be back to our old normal, but maybe our new normal.”