Home News COVID-19 Situation Adult center, museum reopen to public

Adult center, museum reopen to public

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Everett Banks watches the cue ball after taking a shot while playing pool Tuesday at the Roswell Adult Center. Banks took his mask off for a photo, but otherwise wore the mask while in the center. The center partially reopened Monday after being closed in March due to the state’s public health order as the coronavirus pandemic reached New Mexico. (Juno Ogle Photo)

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It’s good to be back.

That’s what Everett Banks had to say about the Roswell Adult Center, 807 N. Missouri, reopening as he contemplated his next shot at one of the center’s pool tables.

At mid-morning Tuesday, Banks was the only person in the center other than the staff, but he didn’t mind.

“I like to be alone when I’m playing. A lot of people play doubles, but I like to practice,” he said.

Banks, 77, said he’s been coming to the center for about three years mostly just to play pool. He said he played in a Minnesota league that took the state’s eight-ball championship in the late 1980s.

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These days, however, he’s happy to just play by his own rules on one of the center’s four pool tables.

The adult center opened Monday for the first time since the city closed many of its facilities in March under the initial state public health order in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Banks said during the interim, he spent time with his children and grandchildren, but he was glad to have the opportunity to be back in the adult center.

The opening is only a partial one, at least until the state’s public health order allows for more to open, according to a city press release. The billiard room, cardio room and hospitality room are available during the center’s hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, but no classes are being offered and rooms cannot be rented.

The hospitality room is where many people like to go just to visit with each other, Roswell Recreation Director Marcus Gallegos said.

“We’ve spaced tables. They’re all at least 6 feet, if not more, apart. There’s only four people per table, so we’re still under our five-person limit for congregating,” he said.

Every hour, the staff will sanitize high-touch areas such as countertops, doorknobs, windows and desks, Gallegos said. Hand sanitizer is available and face masks can be provided for those who forget.

While the building was closed, it underwent a deep cleaning.

“Our facilities maintenance department did a deep cleaning. They stripped all the wax from the floors and rewaxed and buffed them out real nice,” he said.

Surfaces throughout the building also were deep cleaned during the closure, he said.

Even with the adult center being closed nine months, Gallegos said he expects the return of its use to take some time.

“I think it’s going to be slow. I think people for the most part are very cautious. We don’t anticipate a high number of people showing up,” he said.

The Roswell Museum and Art Center also opened to the public Tuesday afternoon after a special members-only appreciation week last week.

“It was a lot of fun. It was nice to have some people back in the museum again looking at the exhibits,” Caroline Brooks, RMAC director, said.

The museum is open from 1 to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.

“We’re just kind of considering it our first phase of reopening just to see how things go, for us to get used to the routine. As we can, we foresee ourselves opening one evening per week or opening again on Saturdays,” Brooks said.

About 20 people had been into the museum by about mid-afternoon, she said. Several of those were winners in the sidewalk chalk and recycled art contests the museum had in conjunction with Make Roswell Beautiful.

Museum visitors have been observing the face mask requirement, she said.

“Everyone’s been observing that, so that’s really good that we’re all on the same page and everyone’s just trying to protect themselves and others,” she said.

The museum is featuring the exhibits of three artists from the Roswell Artist in Residence program. Normally, only one RAIR exhibit would be shown at a time, but because of the closure they are being shown together, she said. Those exhibits will be on display through December, she said.

With the RMAC and adult center opening this week, the Spring River Zoo remains the city’s only enrichment facility that remains closed to the general public. The city has not yet announced an opening date. The zoo began offering private tours and birthday parties to small groups in June and has offered educational livestream videos on Facebook each week.

City/RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or reporter04@rdrnews.com.

To keep up with local coverage of the coronavirus, go to rdrnews.com/category/news/covid-19-situation/.