MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. –The doors of MacDill’s Short Fitness Center reopened on Aug. 19 to active duty, Guard and Reserve personnel after five months due to COVID-19.
Under MacDill’s “Keep it Safe, Keep it Open” campaign, Airmen from the 6th Force Support Squadron sterilized the fitness center facility so service members could have a safe space to conduct their physical workouts and maintain their warfighting readiness.
“The 6th FSS is a big family, so we kept each other uplifted to keep going to get the job done to support the wing and our coalition partners,” said Staff Sgt. Antigone Bagtas, 6th Force Support Squadron fitness program manager.
The plan to reopen the facility with limited operating capacity was a collaboration between the 6th Force Support Squadron and 6th Medical Group’s Public Health office that follows strict, up-to-date Department of Defense and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance that outlines COVID-19 protection measures.
“Throughout the course of this global pandemic, there has been so much uncertainty and information comes from so many channels,” said Bagtas. “But the FSS has kept to the guidelines, and we’ve been able to adapt and overcome the challenge.”
Due to COVID-19 hygiene precautions, once inside the facility, the fitness center staff will check IDs, measure temperatures and perform verbal COVID-19 screening.
Patrons are allotted an hour each day to workout, must wear a mask, except while using cardio equipment, and supply their own water bottles and towels.
Although facilities will be cleaned at designated times during the day, customers must wipe down equipment both before and after use as an extra precaution.
“So far, visitors to the fitness center have done very well to keep their equipment and workout space sanitized,” said Senior Airman Monica Hatchet, a fitness center technician.
Some facility equipment and resources will be off limits, including high-contact items such as plates, belts and foam rollers. Available equipment includes cardio machines, weight machines, benches and certain free weights.
“Since opening, we’ve been averaging about 300 visitors to the fitness center and we are committed our new protocols and to keeping patrons safe,” said Bagtas. “The 6th FSS will continue to give you our best, we just ask that fitness center visitors continue to be patient with us.”
Restrooms and locker rooms, including showers, are currently open, while saunas remain closed. Parent-child areas, racquetball courts, group fitness classes and trainers are also unavailable.
The reopening is part of MacDill’s “Keep it Safe, Keep it Open” campaign to return to normal operations. The Short Fitness Center and other services facilities are slated to reopen in future phases pending updates to current health precautions.
Short Fitness Center hours of operation:
Monday – Friday: 0500 - 1900
COVID-19 Preventative Measures and Operating Procedures
- Military Common Access Card holders only (Active, Guard and Reserve)
- 100% ID checks
- Temperature check upon entering facility
- Masks are required entering and moving throughout the facility
- Maintain minimum of 6-foot distance
- ONLY areas available (Max. total capacity 73):
-- Weight Room (Max. capacity 28)
-- Cardio room (upstairs/mezzanine) (Max. capacity 25)
-- Selectorized weight equipment room (Max. capacity 20)
-- Locker rooms (including showers)
-- All outdoor areas and equipment (e.g. weight plates, bars, tires, stools, etc.)
- No facility reservations or equipment check-out
- Note: Classes will also continue virtually on Short Fitness Center’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ShortFitnessSportsCenter/
- One-hour maximum workout sessions
- Mask wear is required in all areas but may be removed while on cardio equipment
- Limit to one piece of equipment at a time (no supersets)
- Bring personal water bottle (bottle fillers are available but drinking fountains are not)
- Fitness Center staff will provide specific disinfecting requirement applicable to each room
- Equipment is marked off to ensure 6-foot distancing/do not remove tape
- Bring personal towel
-- You must wipe sweat off prior to disinfecting the entire machine and plates
-- You will be provided all items needs for disinfecting
-- You must wait to use a piece of equipment a specified time after disinfecting
-- YOU MUST clean equipment BEFORE and AFTER use
Reporting: If an individual on base tests positive for COVID-19, the public health office will confirm if they frequent the fitness center within the last 7 days. If the answer is yes, fitness center staff will identify when the individual was in the center and determine other patrons who were in the fitness center at the same time. This data is only available for up to 7 days after a person badges into the fitness center.
For a complete listing of Short Fitness Center operating procedures and updates, please visit: https://macdillfss.com/mainmenusub-rc.aspx?SectionID=420 https://www.macdill.af.mil/Portals/26/Fitness%20Center_1.pdf
For a list of 6th Force Support Squadron facilities available, please visit:
For questions or additional information, please contact the Short Fitness Center (813) 828-4496.