DC-area YMCAs reopen with safety adjustments

The YMCA of Metropolitan Washington has reopened all six facilities in D.C., Maryland and Northern Virginia after extensive staff training and adjustments related to health issues and social distancing.

“There are a lot of guidelines and policies we have to follow, but we want to open, and we want to stay open and keep everybody healthy and safe,” said Kevin Correll, vice president of operations for D.C.-area YMCAs. 

Some of the changes in place now include closed locker rooms and suspended child watch service, but tennis courts are open, indoor pools are available for laps and exercise classes are happening inside and outdoors.

Members must bring their own yoga mats, bottles of water and towels. They need to arrive already dressed for the activity they’ll be doing. Access to locker rooms is for only bathroom use for numbers of people relative to each location’s available space. If the restroom has reached capacity, there’s a designated waiting area.

“We have attendants that are there, and the policies are posted, so we can make sure that everybody can safely proceed into the locker room,” Correll said.

Visitors undergo health and temperature checks before being admitted and agree to a code of conduct policy covering multiple considerations such as hand-washing, social distancing and wearing face coverings.

Policies and activity adjustments specific to each location are posted on the group’s website. Various activities require a reservation to be completed on the Y’s website.  

YMCA branches that were closed in recent months have been serving their communities in various other ways in response to COVID-19:

  • Provided free childcare for essential workers at four area YMCAs.
  • Served more than 77,200 pounds of food through meals and farm produce given to more than 6,700 local families.
  • Raised more than $337,000 through grants and donations to help support the community.
  • Donated more than 2,700 masks to help protect staff members and community volunteers.
  • Provided more than 1,000 teletherapy sessions for children and teens who weren’t attending school.
  • YMCA virtual content featuring wellness, nutrition, exercise and children’s entertainment hosted more than 165,000 viewers.
  • Provided more than 348 units of donated blood. Supplies region wide remain low and donors are needed.

“The Y has been working throughout this pandemic and just trying to help everybody to get stronger and to stay healthy, so we’re eager to continue doing that on all fronts,” Correll said.

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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