Plan highlights new safety procedures in its facilities in addition to spaced machines and reduced capacity on its fitness floor and indoor pools.

After a 16-week closure the YMCA of Metro North association is ready to open its first branch, Torigian Family YMCA in Peabody on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. The association developed a phased reopening plan for each of its four fitness centers and gymnastics center in advance of the Governor’s recent Phase 3 announcement which includes gyms and fitness center openings. The association developed a series of new safety and cleaning procedures including the use of face masks by staff and members, spaced strength equipment, 6-foot plexiglass shields between cardio equipment, and mandatory reservations for pool lanes and group classes.

“We are following the lead of other YMCAs across the country and opening our branches slowly and carefully,” said Kathleen Walsh, President and CEO, YMCA of Metro North “We want to take extra care to make sure the cleaning and social distancing procedures we put in place work, and our members feel safe and comfortable as they begin to return.”

Some areas of the facility will remain closed due to the recommendations of public health officials. These areas include saunas, steam rooms, and child watch services. In addition, its indoor group exercise classes will be introduced within the next week with the association continuing outdoor classes and virtual classes.

“We plan to introduce more activities and amenities as we get additional guidance from health officials; and when we know that we can do so in a safe way that gives our members a fun and challenging workout,” said Rob Lowell, Executive Director, Torigian Family YMCA. “Part of the experience of the YMCA is the social interactions our members enjoy, especially with popular classes like water fitness, yoga, and cycling. These classes will return in the second phase of our opening plan, for now we are concentrating on getting all of our branches opened while maintaining a healthy environment.”

The YMCA of Metro North will open its fitness center in Melrose on Monday, July 13 followed by the opening of its branches in Lynn and Saugus shortly after. Each branch will operate with modified hours and staff in direct service cleaning machines and equipment frequently. The branch capacity will be reduced to 40% of its normal occupancy.

“We are ready to welcome back our members who have shown us a tremendous amount of support during this shutdown,” says Walsh. “Our staff have done an incredible job preparing our facilities and reinventing our systems. People will be coming back to a new YMCA which I think will be better than ever.”