Chatham-Kent YMCA members looking to shed their pandemic pounds are in luck.
The YMCA began a phased reopening Friday after being shut since March 15 because of the COVID-19 crisis.
Members can now use the second-floor fitness area that includes cardio machines and weights. Some equipment has been moved into a studio and the rest has been spread out so that people can practise social distancing while exercising.
The pool, gymnasiums and change rooms remain closed. Washrooms are open.
“We’re doing more of a slow, phased-in approach,” general manager Amy Wadsworth said.
Outdoor fitness classes began earlier this month. They’ll remain outside until the weather gets cooler and then they’ll move inside to the larger gym.
“We’ve had a great turnout with those classes,” Wadsworth said.
The gyms will reopen for recreational sports when YMCA officials decide it’s safe to do so.
“We are not starting anything with recreational kids’ programming yet,” Wadsworth said. “We’re going to let the schools get started and see how that progresses.
“Our pool, we are right now waiting to see how things flow and then eventually we’ll have a plan to open that as we feel it’s safe.”
The YMCA has almost 4,000 members.
“If they aren’t comfortable right now coming back, we are allowing them to put their membership on hold until they feel safe. … We’ve put in a lot of measures to try to help with safety,” Wadsworth said.
Masks must be worn in the common areas. Cleaning is increased. Stairs are now one way to reduce traffic.
Equipment will be cleaned before and after each weight class. Participants won’t share weights during the classes.
“We’re trying to make it as safe as possible for the members, but they have to feel comfortable to come in also,” Wadsworth said.
The YMCA used a grant from the Chatham Kent Community Foundation to put together 100 care packages that were recently delivered to its senior citizen members.
“It was nice to be able to see their smiling faces and learn how much they’re missing the Y,” Wadsworth said.