Midlands apartment complex reopens pool, fitness center amid pandemic but by appointment only

Published: May. 27, 2020 at 8:57 AM EDT
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WEST COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Having a shared fitness center and pool area can be risky in the age of social distancing. Now, some apartment complexes are having to rethink how to safely offer amenities to their residents.

Abberly Village Apartment Homes in West Columbia is one Midlands property making some adjustments.

Normally, residents there have access to a fitness center, business center, club house and pool area but they were all closed down back in mid-March, in hopes of preventing the spread of COVID-19 on the property.

Those amenities have just recently reopened in the last week, at the same time that all close contact businesses in South Carolina got the green light to reopen to the public back on May 18. Still, residents will now have limited access.

Abberly Village is now offering an online reservation system where residents can choose time slots for the amenity of their choice.

There are also new capacity limits. This means, no more than 30 people at the pool. No more than five people are allowed inside the fitness center at once, and same goes for the business center.

Mary Mockridge is the community manager at Abberly Village Apartment Homes.

She says, “For the fitness center, we have unplugged quite a few pieces of equipment that are side-by-side. For the pool area, we did remove a lot of the pool chairs so that there aren’t a lot of spots for people to want to come and kind of overcrowd the pool. We are monitoring it, as well, with the online reservation system but we are doing pool checks and we have a courtesy officer, too, that can check the pool after hours, too.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, chlorine will likely inactivate the virus, but it’s not clear how long this process takes.

While Abberly Village has new procedures in place to protect current residents, they’re also making some changes for potential residents. In-person tours had been put on hold for the last several weeks while the complex offered virtual tours instead.

Now, more technology is being implemented to allow potential residents to see the property in person, without in-person contact.

“We, recently, installed Smart Home technology in some of the apartments that allow a keyless entry system. So, this allows the prospects to tour the apartments by themselves but we can still communicate with them and guide them through the apartment by phone. So, that still promotes the social distancing, and we just started opening up appointments back up, as well,” said Mockridge.

There are also new procedures in place for in-person tours, which have recently restarted, as well. Everyone is required to wear a mask, including staff, and there can be no more than two people on a tour.

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