Amon Carter Jr. Downtown YMCA to reopen Monday, unveils coronavirus safety protocols

May 27,2020

See full Fort Worth Star-Telegram article by Brian Lopez here

After being closed for about two months due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Amon G. Carter Jr. Downtown YMCA is set to reopen Monday with new safety measures and procedures.

The location will be open from 6 a.m to 8 p.m. Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and closed on Sundays.

Although Gov. Greg Abbott allowed gyms to reopen May 18, Tony Shuman, president and CEO of the YMCA of Metropolitan Fort Worth, said the YMCA is a trusted organization in the community so they took the extra time to open safely for members.

“It took us a little bit more time to make sure that we’re following all of those regulations to get all the PPE stuff and everything ready,” Shuman said during a media tour Wednesday.

acklinn Sotello, associate vice president of member experience and healthy living, said the safety of members and staff is the priority. Before entering the building, staff will have their temperature taken and are required to wear masks and gloves.

Members must sign a waiver that states they are healthy before entering. Although it is encouraged, the YMCA is not requiring members to wear masks or gloves.

The facility is also implementing the following guidelines:

  • Members should limit their time in the facility to 60 minutes.

  • Member bags will not be allowed in.

  • The locker room and showers also won’t be available.

  • Social distancing, a minimum of 6 feet, is required.

  • Water fountains and towels are not available.

  • No outside food can be brought in.

The building will operate at 25% capacity, complying with Abbott’s order. That number for the building is 138 people, Shuman said, and there will be a check-in/check-out system in place to make sure it is monitored.

If the building is full, those who want to get in will need to wait outside until space is available. There will be additional staff members to make sure social-distancing guidelines are followed, Shuman said.

As for exercising, some workout equipment and stations won’t be usable because of social-distancing guidelines, which states that people must be 6 feet apart, Sotello said. On the free weight floor, after using a dumbbell or weight plate, people must place it in a bin, where staff will then sanitize the equipment.

“There’s a specific cleaning solution that the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] has given us guidelines on to use,” she said.

The indoor pool will be open for lap swimming, with one or two people per lane, Shuman said.

Hitting the basketball courts won’t be an option for members. Instead, the courts have been set up for spin and yoga classes, which will be limited group exercises. Virtual classes will continue on Facebook Live.

Two summer day camps will also open Monday: Camp Carter and Hood County in Granbury, he said.

Camps will be in small groups with no large activities taking place. At Camp Carter, the cabins will be used to socially distance groups. Usually, there is an overnight camp at Camp Carter, but this summer it won’t be offered.

When the location closed due to the pandemic, members could put their accounts on hold and if those members don’t wish to come back just yet, the location will continue to offer that option, Sotello said. As of Wednesday, about 1,000 members have opted to remain on hold.

In a survey sent out to members about three weeks ago, Sotello said, about half said they were excited to come back while the other half said they weren’t ready yet, citing underlying health conditions.

As the location gears up to reopen, Shuman said he doesn’t expect a huge rush, but he knows members who come understand the values of the YMCA and won’t have a problem with the new guidelines.

“We’re really excited to invite all of our members back,” Shuman said.