The panelists were Chris Tointon, the president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Omaha in Omaha, Nebraska; Art Krueger, the director of The Wave Aquatic and Fitness Center in Whitefish, Montana; and Todd Rockoff, the president and CEO of the Tucson JCC in Tucson, Arizona.
The following is a summary of the top takeaways from the roundtable, including how to prepare for a possible facility reclosure, adjusting cleanliness and safety procedures, and bracing for the continued impact of the pandemic:
- Be a good steward of your facility and its mission — set a good example for members on following distancing and safety guidelines, and constantly coach staff on how to enforce these policies.
- Have internal planning sessions to discuss how to adjust procedures if local governments put more restrictions in place.
- Create different entry points in your facility for various populations to avoid crossing paths and promote social distancing.
- Require all staff members to wear masks, and require members to wear masks unless they’re swimming or doing in an activity — such as tennis — in which participants are sufficiently distanced.
Communicating to Members
- Publish your safety and cleanliness guidelines so members can access them.
- Create “how to” videos that demonstrate new guidelines — where to enter the building, where to park, how to navigate the facility and maintain social distancing, what programs are available, etc.
- Transparency is key — being as open as possible about what’s happening at the facility will help put members’ minds at ease.
- Consider hosting a public Zoom call members can join to make suggestions and/or voice concerns.
- Don’t over-communicate — find a middle ground of keeping members informed without swarming them with emails or social media posts.
Emphasizing Your Importance to the Community
- Ask how your organization can set a good example for the rest of the community and other businesses in the area.
- Advocacy for childcare providers is very important to the future of the community after the pandemic.
- Speaking with government decision-makers and/or policymakers when and where you can — even informally — can give clarity on what your facility is able to have open, as well as share the importance of your facility being open.
- Consider partnering with other health and wellness facilities in your county and/or state to form an alliance through which you can communicate with the governor’s office and advocate for community rec centers as essential businesses.
Preparing for Possible Reclosure
- It’s important to support your staff — emotionally and financially — while navigating a possible reclosure.
- Expand your facility’s essential services, such as child care and youth education, to boost your organization’s standing as an essential business.
- Put your cleanliness and safety protocols into practice and be conspicuous about them — the cleaner your business is perceived to be, the more likely it is to stay open.
- Everyone — staff and members — has to own cleanliness. It’s everybody’s responsibility.
Fallout from the Pandemic
- New business development will (and likely already has) come to a halt, since organizations won’t have the capital to support these projects.
- It’s important to keep essential services like childcare and food delivery programs going even while facilities continue to operate at a limited capacity.
To access the on-demand version of this webinar, click here.