This photo shows an empty parking lot at the Union County Family YMCA earlier this spring. The facility will reopen later this month under guidelines to combat the coronavirus. (Journal-Tribune photo by Tim Miller)
Gymnasiums and other fitness centers throughout Ohio could begin reopening later this month.
All such facilities shuttered doors two months ago as the state was hit with the coronavirus pandemic.
Governor Mike DeWine announced Thursday afternoon that gyms and fitness centers may begin to reopen on Tuesday, May 26.
“We are excited to hear from the governor’s office that our fitness activities and facilities may reopen on May 26,” said Trevor Secord, chief executive officer for the Union County Family YMCA.
Secord stated the YMCA will reopen after learning the requirements that will be needed to welcome back its patrons.
Those requirements could include plans for social distancing and constant sanitization.
“We need to have these in hand to take all final actions on reopening preparations,” said Secord.
He said YMCA officials expect to announce an official reopening date next Wednesday, May 20.
The facility’s reopening will not be complete on its first day of operation.
“We will reopen in phases,” said Secord. “We ask our members to please expect limited availability at our initial reopening.
“It is of the most importance to us that our members are safe and in an environment that meets all recommended guidelines.”
Secord told the Journal-Tribune this morning the guidelines may include limiting the number of people who may use the facility at any given time.
“We’re happy to be able to start and get back to something of our old normal,” he said. “However, we still have to be super responsible for the safety of our members.”
He said YMCA officials have used the shutdown to make some upgrades to the facility.
“We’ve patched our parking lot, replaced tiles and done some painting,” said Secord. “We will also have some new furniture for when people can actually come in and sit down.
“These types of projects have been done to refresh the facility.”
Secord said the YMCA has been able to financially withstand the shutdown.
He said some members have decided to donate their membership fees that applied during the past two months to the YMCA.
“For those who did that, we plan on some type of membership appreciation event sometime down the road,” said Secord. “There are some members who weren’t able to do that.
“For those members, we are working to apply that money for them in some other type of activity within the YMCA.”
Secord said the membership donations and money from the United States government’s Paycheck Protection Program have kept the YMCA afloat during the shutdown.
“We’ve been able to sustain ourselves,” he said.
“We will be happy to see people’s faces again.”
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