Some patrons are furious that they are required to wear masks while exercising inside the rec center, a rec district board member told Clear Creek commissioners on July 21.

Some are getting into heated conversations with staff, threatening to quit and demanding refunds, Tom Harvey, vice president of the Clear Creek Metropolitan Recreation District board, said.

In addition, during a rec district board meeting on July 22, Harvey said the district is experiencing a setback, and it will have to work with its patrons the best it can.

“Sam (Dhyne, CCMRD’s co-interim manager) says we can get through it, and I trust that,” he stated.

Dhyne explained that while some patrons are furious, the overall fallout has been minimal compared with what staff expected. Some people have complained, saying they might not come back, while others complained but then wore masks anyway.

However, most are just happy to have the rec center open, and they want it to stay open, she added.

“Maybe, in six weeks’ time, if we all (wear masks), things will look a little bit better,” she said.

The mask order instituted by the state on July 16 remains in place at the rec center. The county updated its order requiring face masks indoors even when social distancing is maintained.

On the state’s COVID-19 web page, the frequently asked questions about the mask order says: “Mask-wearing requirements apply to everyone indoors, including people exercising. If you are in an indoor room with other patrons who are not a part of your household, then you need to wear a mask. You may remove it temporarily if you need to catch your breath or safely perform an activity, but wear a mask as much as feasible.”

Dhyne clarified that rec center patrons don’t have to wear masks while swimming.

Anyone who’s uncomfortable wearing masks inside the rec center can still attend the district’s outdoor classes and use stationary bikes set up outside the rec center, she added.

During the July 21 commissioners meeting, County Public & Environmental Health Director Tim Ryan said the six-foot social-distancing rule is more for talking in a normal voice. Activities such as singing or exercising will increase the amount of viral load in the air.

So, if someone was exercising with an entire room to themselves, that would be acceptable, but when there are others in the area, it’s a point of potential exposure, he explained.

Contact reporter Corinne Westeman at 303-567-4491 or, and follow her on Twitter @cwesteman.