Gym owners ask patrons for patience

Several facilities open today, with changes

With Blair County’s transition to the state’s green phase for reopening, local health clubs are reopening and beginning what they hope will be a return to normal operations.

The Building II Rec Center has been closed since March 19 and is reopening at 5 a.m. today. Members will see some changes.

“We will close every other machine so there will be room between users,” Director Mark Bennett said. “We will ask clients to clean before and after they use a machine. We are asking them to wear something like a mask or covering between exercises. If they are just mingling, they need to wear a mask. We are closing off the water coolers.”

Bennett said he is playing operational hours “by ear.”

“We don’t have a big enough staff to clean constantly all day,” he said. “We may have to shut down for an hour during the afternoon to clean. For now, our hours will be 5 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and 7 a.m. to noon Sunday. We are trying to figure out how to handle the cleaning process. We have a spray we use, but we need to be slow or closed to do it.”

Members should feel safe using the gym.

“Our gym is cleaned constantly,” Bennett said. “We ask them to do their part in following guidelines of the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and if they don’t feel well, to stay at home and be patient. … We will just be at 50 percent capacity.”

The Summit Tennis and Athletic Club is also opening at 5 a.m. today.

“We will be limited to half of our building capacity, and each area of the club will also have a capacity limit. Certain amenities and services will not open immediately,” said General Manager Chris Glunt. “Our hours have been reduced in order to allow for additional time to clean and disinfect at night. We will be open Monday through Friday from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.”

Those using the Summit should feel safe, he said.

“We are in the business of health, so our first priority is to keep everyone safe and healthy,” Glunt said. “Know that we are following state and CDC guidelines to keep our members safe and please be patient as we make our way through these unprecedented times together. Staff will be wearing masks, and members will be required to wear them when they are in the building but not working out. Interior doors will be blocked open to eliminate touching of handles.”

Glunt said extra cleaning staff has been added.

“Group exercise attendance will be limited to maintain social distancing, and the schedule has been changed to allow one hour in between classes so that equipment can be cleaned and disinfected,” he said. “Every other piece of cardio equipment will be closed for social distancing. In addition to nightly cleaning and disinfecting, we close our locker rooms during the day for a short time to clean and disinfect.”

The Blair Regional YMCA has set different opening dates for its facilities.

The Early Learning Center on Reservoir Road location, Childcare Program and Camp Hihowrya will open Monday; the YMCA on Hewitt Street will open

June 15, YMCA pools with limited usage will open June 17; and the YMCA Summer Camp Program at Hewitt Street will open June 22, said Executive Director Sharon Jones.

Some restrictions will be in place, “but those will be reevaluated regularly and changed when appropriate,” Jones said. Programs will be phased in. “We will have reduced facility capacity as per CDC guidelines.”

Hours will be 5 a.m. to

8:30 p.m. Monday through Thurs­day, 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, 7 a.m. to noon Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

“The safety of our staff, members and program participants has been at the forefront of my thinking and reopening strategy for the past two months,” Jones said. “The Y has gone to great lengths to thoroughly disinfect both facilities and equipment. Enhanced cleaning protocols have been added to those already in place, prior to the shutdown.”

Some of the safety measures include increased staffing to provide housekeeping support throughout the day, fogging sprayers purchased to disinfect areas and equipment several times throughout the day and requiring temperature checks before entering the YMCA and Early Learning Center.

Recommended CDC guidelines will be incorporated, water bottle filling stations have been purchased and water fountains will no longer be available for use, In addition, staff has undergone safety training, Jones said.

“I made a decision, prior to the reopening the YMCA and Early Learning Center, that we would not reopen until I felt we had done all we could to provide safe and clean facilities,” Jones said.

“We have done our best to keep the member experience a positive one, but we realize that we won’t be able to initially offer and provide everything we did prior to the shutdown. I ask for everyone’s patience.”


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