On Friday night, the Dutch government announced an evening lockdown. Higher education remained largely untouched: for Erasmus University, the new measures mainly meant that the university would advise its staff to work at home with even greater emphasis.
For Erasmus Sport employees, the new measures meant a weekend of overtime. The closing time would already be brought forward from 8 pm to 5 pm as of Sunday morning.
Together with colleagues, director Jon de Ruijter was calling coaches and associations all weekend long: “It was very unpleasant to hear this news, but this is how it is. Of course, it was difficult to reschedule all the timetables, but it worked out in the end. It gives a kick that the puzzle is laid now. Many coaches had to cancel other work appointments for this.”
Possibly opening at 6:00 a.m.
Sport took a few drastic measures. All matches were cancelled and evening sessions such as yoga and zumba were moved to the daytime schedule. All sports now fit into a schedule between eight and five on weekdays and from half past nine to five on weekends.
De Ruijter explains: “We assume that students have a flexible planning and can exercise between lectures. On Sunday and Monday there was a reasonable turnout. Slightly less than usual. We figure that’s because students still have to get used to the new schedule.”
To accommodate the students as much as possible, De Ruijter is considering opening the sports complex earlier in the morning. De Ruijter, careful: “At the Twente University sports association they are already working on an early morning program. We tried that once before and it didn’t catch on, so now we’ve put out a poll. Depending on what comes out of that, we might open at six o’clock from next week onward.”
Although the sports activities will continue, social gatherings afterwards cease to exist when the complex has to close at five. For De Ruijter, that means a considerable loss of turnover: “Club members often drank a beer or ate some snacks after the game or training session.”
That they will see a great loss in revenue is beyond doubt, according to de Ruijter. “We will miss out on at least eighty evening meals a day. We’ll be able to hold out until the Christmas holidays, but after that, it’s going to be more difficult, especially without a compensation scheme.”