Kosciusko Community YMCA prepped to reopen on Sunday

The fitness center sits quietly during shut down, but is getting prepped to re-open on Sunday, May 24th during a soft re-opening. (Photo: Nick Deranek/News Now Warsaw)

Daily workout routines were dashed away in March when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and the state of Indiana started to shut things down. For two months, staff at the Parkview Warsaw YMCA have been waiting for the moment to reopen. That moment comes this Sunday.

The YMCA will have a “soft re-opening” at the Warsaw location from 1 to 4 PM, where members can come re-establish themselves in the building and get used to having a place to workout. The full re-opening will take place on Tuesday at both the Warsaw and North Webster locations.

Warsaw will operate Monday through Friday, 5 AM to 9 PM, Saturday from 7 AM to 4 PM and will be closed Sundays. North Webster will be open Monday through Friday from 5 PM to 1 PM, close, then re-open from 4 to 8 PM, open on Saturday from 7 AM to 4 PM and will be closed Sundays.

Members will be required to fill out a COVID-19 waiver and assumption of risk before they enter the facility. You can read and sign the waiver here or do it in person.

A number of safety and sanitizing procedures have been established to keep members as safe as possible when they visit. Members will notice the use of Plexiglas shields at the check-in desk, along with the welcome center. Staff will be wearing masks, but members will not be required to wear them while in the building, though the use of the face masks will be “encouraged.”

Director of Marketing and Fund Development Ben Keffer said staff will also have their temperatures taken before they come on shift. If they register a temperature over 100.4°, or show other possible symptoms of COVID-19, they will be asked to return home until they are well again.

The same will go with members who come in to use the facility. Keffer says there won’t be a staff member taking temperatures of everyone who comes into the building. “It will be more of an honor system. There are questions posted at the door asking them questions such as if they are feeling well or if they have been around anyone who has/had COVID-19. If they answer “yes,” they are asked to come back at a time they feel better.”

In the fitness center, members will be given disposable disinfectant wipes to clean equipment before and after the use of equipment.

Director of Fitness and Healthy Living Tracy Frick says staff will also be constantly wiping down the machines to make sure they are clean and sanitized. “They will maintain a routine of keeping the equipment clean. If you are on a machine that is on the list to be cleaned while the staff member is going around, you may be asked to take a short break so it can be cleaned.”

Like in March before the shutdown, cardio equipment will be spaced out by every other machine.

Signs will be posted on treadmills (shown), elliptical machines and stationary bikes to show which machines can and cannot be used. (Photo: Nick Deranek/News Now Warsaw)

Spacing will also be seen on weight machines, although those will be further spaced apart. Frick says the decisions on which machines will be opened to start was made after consulting with the rest of her fitness staff.

She said that the machines will go through rotations on what is open and closed on certain days, although she did not have a complete idea yet on how that selection process will be done.

To maintain distancing, weight machines are also going to go through a cycle of being opened and closed. (Photo: Nick Deranek/News Now Warsaw)

Frick also says a “liaison” will be seated at a table before entering the fitness area to answer any questions regarding the fitness center.

In other areas of the building, the gym will have open times for pickleball and badminton, but basketball will not be allowed at this time as the Y will be following along with what the city does for their guidelines. As of Wednesday, Mayor Joe Thallemer said basketball courts will not be opening immediately as the state moves into the next phase of Back on Track Indiana.

Current adult sports leagues will remain suspended until June 15th.

In the locker rooms, every third locker will be closed to help encourage social distancing. Locker rooms, family changing rooms, bathrooms, and touchpoints will be alternatively closed every 90 minutes for disinfecting. CEO Jim Swanson says it will be an easy process for the cleaning. “Staff will go in with these ‘foggers’ and they will spray and sanitize the locker rooms to keep them as clean as possible.”

The pool will be open, but lap swimming will be restricted to one person per lane. Water walking in the Warm Water Pool will be available with social distancing encouraged and all Open Swim and Water Aerobics will remain suspended.

Group Fitness Classes will not resume in Phase 3, as mandated by the Health Department. Classes will be reintroduced on a limited schedule in Level 4. Frick said the fitness team has posted 150 videos on its YouTube channel, which has had over 700 hours of watch time from viewers. She says the use of Zoom meetings have also made virtual programming fun for those participating, and it gives the chance for instructors to see peoples faces and interact.

You can read more about re-opening procedures on the Y website here.

Y staff has also kept in contact with its members who are at “high-risk,” doing routine checkups and asking them if they are in need of anything. “We’ve really kept in touch with those who are part of our Silver Sneakers group. We have had staff do various things for them, whether they be simple tasks or more advanced tasks like mowing a lawn,” Frick said.

When asked about the number of memberships and if they have decreased over the past couple of months, CEO Jim Swanson said they haven’t had too many cancellations, but many put their memberships “on-hold.”

“Putting a membership on-hold means the member is not getting charged their monthly rate, but it also means they are still members. If anyone canceled their membership instead of putting it on-hold, they will have to go through the membership process again and pay the joiners fee.”

Memberships are incredibly important to the Y, who relies on those fees as a non-profit organization. Swanson says he is very thankful to those who have kept their memberships going during the last two months.

For those wondering about the Y summer camps, such as Camp Little Eagle and S.O.A.R., you can see more information here.