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The YMCA of Greater Tulsa Reopens After COVID-19 Shutdown

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After over six weeks of being shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic, the YMCA of Greater Tulsa reopened its doors on May 1. Matt Hancock, the senior VP of operations for the YMCA of Greater Tulsa, said that though the Y may look different than before, they wanted to be sure to focus on things members could do instead of those they could not.

In Phase 1, rather than blocking off every other machine, the Tulsa Y moved every piece of cardio equipment throughout the facility six feet apart, showing members an opportunity, rather than another reminder of something COVID-19 has taken from members’ sense of normalcy.

Hancock said they also wanted members to experience a new facility and actually see the work that went into reopening when they returned. In addition to the moved equipment, the Y has placed extra hand sanitizer throughout the facility, and moved and placed new signage throughout the Y.

Also, throughout the facility are footprint stickers indicating where members should stand to keep a safe distance. “This is not only for social distancing, but to create consistency,” explained Hancock. “The same footprint stickers by the front desk are also surrounding the lifeguard stands so members can keep practicing social distancing when approaching staff throughout the facility.”

While reopening has gone well and has received a great response from members, the one obstacle the Tulsa Y has faced is finding a way to reserve lap lanes.

While some of their locations have multiple lanes and haven’t had challenges, some locations only have three lanes, which has resulted in members having to wait. However, Hancock sees these as a growth opportunity rather than a setback. They hope to have technology for members to not only reserve a pool lane, but also reserve spots in Group X classes when they return in the next phases of reopening.

Hancock’s advice for other facilities when it comes to reopening is making sure all staff members, regardless of their title, have a say in the reopening plan. He explained that while your idea may make sense on paper, the staff members who have to execute the plan can tell you if it’s practical and give you a new perspective. He also said when staff has a say in the plan, they all can thoroughly understand it and execute it well.

Below is a list of all the precautions the Tulsa Y is taking while being open:

  • Members and staff must maintain a minimum distance of six feet while in the YMCA.
  • In order to allow for optimal distancing, the number of members checked in will be limited.
  • Staff will have temperatures checked upon entering the facility.
  • Staff will wear personal protective equipment — masks and gloves.
  • Waivers for usage are required.
  • Guest/day passes are not permitted.
  • Group exercise classes are only available virtually.
  • Locker rooms open on a rotating basis to allow for cleaning.
  • Shower areas have additional cleaning protocols.
  • Basketball gyms, Play & Learn and social gathering areas will remain closed.
  • Saunas, hot tubs and therapy pools will remain closed.
  • Pools are open for lap swim only and participation will be limited.
  • Towel service not provided.
  • Cardio and strength equipment is spaced to allow for social distancing.
  • Equipment should be disinfected before and after use.
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Taylor Brown

Taylor Brown is a staff writer for Community Rec Magazine. She can be reached at taylor@peakemedia.com.

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