by ALEXANDRA RETTER
The Winona Family YMCA began its first phase of reopening on Monday, June 15. Now, people may reserve a time slot at the Wellness Center, schedule in-person and virtual personal training, as well as virtual and outdoor group fitness and access the bathrooms in the family locker rooms.
“We’ve been getting asked a lot, ‘Why aren’t more services available?’” Winona Family YMCA Chief Executive Officer Janneke Sobeck said. “The bottom line is, we want to stay open. That means we have to open each space with great intentionality … we’re anticipating the first phase will be two weeks as we get members into the space and get comfortable with the flow.”
Sobeck said she was excited to welcome members back. “It’s hard not having people in the building, because the Y is about community,” Sobeck shared. “And we made our best effort to have that community virtually, but we are so excited to have people back in the space and support healthy lifestyles and choices.”
Individuals may reserve a time slot that is a maximum of 60-minutes long at the Wellness Center.
“We have a great Wellness Center, which includes cardio machines and weight machines,” Sobeck stated. “But it’s snug on a good day. So, our maintenance director moved some cardio machines out into the gym — ones that don’t require an electrical power source. In the Wellness Center, where machines do need a power source, we have marked off every other machine so we can have socially distanced work outs.”
A few staff members are stationed in the Wellness Center to ensure social distancing and cleaning guidelines are being followed and to assist with equipment cleaning, which takes place after the people in one reservation time slot leave and before the individuals in the next reservation time slot enter.
The number of participants in outdoor group fitness sessions are limited to allow for proper social distancing. The new YMCA building slated to open in the fall has outdoor spaces, and outdoor classes may continue there, as may virtual classes, Sobeck noted. She said people appreciated being able to foster connections with their personal trainer from the comfort and safety of their home through virtual personal training during the YMCA’s closure period.
People are strongly encouraged to wear masks throughout the building while at the YMCA, Sobeck explained. Staff members wear masks. Everyone entering the building, including staff members and YMCA members, are screened for COVID-19. Staff ask members questions regarding COVID-19 symptoms and members’ temperatures are taken. Individuals are required to sign a COVID-19 waiver supplement as well.
Those with high health risks related to COVID-19 are encouraged to take part in virtual programming, Sobeck said.
People now move in one direction through the building. “We will have one entrance into the building for staff and a separate entrance for members,” Sobeck shared. “Members will exit via a different door. So, there will be a one-way flow through phase one, like one-way staircases and hallways.”
The number of people allowed in the building is limited to 25 percent of typical occupancy.
Every hour, staff members wipe down areas that are frequently touched, such as doorknobs, hand railings, elevator buttons and the service desk. Some plexiglass screens have been added near the service desk and COVID-19 screening areas.
Showers are not be available in the family locker rooms at this time. People are not able to access the men’s and women’s locker rooms, steam room, hot tub, gyms, racquetball courts and pools during the first phase of reopening. The Kids Corner, McBurnie Room, coffee service, towel service, sweat towels, water fountains, vending machines, Family Fun Center, birthday party rentals, camp rentals, fitness studio, guest passes, nationwide membership and day passes are also unavailable at this time. Those under 16 will not be able to access the YMCA in the first phase of reopening.
The YMCA is offering summer child care and camp as well. Daily health screenings, regular disinfecting of areas that will be used, staggered drop off and pick up, limited groups that will not crossover and utilization of different areas by every group will be in place.
The YMCA will be open Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. The building will be closed on Sunday.
Those interested in reserving a time slot at the Wellness Center may do so by calling 507-454-1520 or visiting https://www.winonaymca.org/reopening. Individuals who wish to schedule personal training or group fitness may email firstname.lastname@example.org. The COVID-19 waiver supplement may be found at https://www.winonaymca.org/reopening. The form will also be at the YMCA’s front desk. More information about virtual programming may be found at https://www.winonaymca.org/virtual-fitness.