By Thomas Sellers Jr.
The Memphis & Mid-South Area YMCA facilities are under their own Phase One as the state of Tennessee enters Phase Two of the Economic Recovery Plan.
On May 11, gyms were a part of the Phase One reopening list including the 11 YMCA location in North Mississippi and West Tennessee.
During week two of the return, the Millington Family YMCA located at 7725 E. Navy Circle is seeing an uptake in members returning.
“The good news is we’re open,” Isaac Isais said, program director. “The questionable side of it is how soon will we open everything else up? We’re opening up things piece by piece. Right now we’re in Phase One which is just the wellness floor. We’re operating under social distancing, according to the CDC guidelines.”
On May 18, Phase Two began across the state allowing hair and nail salons to operate along with spas. The next phase allows groups of up to 50, ibraries, churches, gyms to 50 percent capacity and contact sport facilities can open as long as they only allow a certain number of people.
As for the YMCA during the week of May 18, the wellness floor was the only part in operation. Certain machines were closed, people can workout with respective distancing to one another for 45 minutes and the staff is sanitizing non-stop.
When a member enters the facility their temperature is taken and a staff members asks standard questions from the CDC.
“We’re excited to have people come back through the doors and workout and doing the things they were so anxious to do beforehand,” Isais said.
The staff at the YMCA and members of the Tennessee government continue to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The state’s Economic Recovery Group announced earlier in May it would lift capacity restrictions on restaurants and retail to instead focus on social distancing best practices effective May 22 and issue guidelines to facilitate the safe reopening of larger, non-contact attractions on or after May 22.
New Tennessee Pledge guidelines will be released early next week. Six counties – Shelby, Madison, Davidson, Hamilton, Knox and Sullivan – may continue to follow individual, county-specific reopening plans created in consultation with State and local health departments.
With a large group on the frontline fighting the disease, the YMCA stepped up to assist those with childcare.
“If they are an essential worker with a child and have those concerns,” Isais said, “if they are concerned an essential worker they can come in and get their childcare taken care of for free.”
While the wellness floor and that version of childcare are available, the YMCA’s pools are closed and classes will vary from location to location.
The operating hours this week are 6 a.m to 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. during the week. And this Saturday will have operation hours.
“Just to be able to get in and sanitize things more throughly, if somebody is coming in while you’re working out, we’re consistently sanitizing everything,” Isais said. “We ask members to wipe down equipment after using it. We’re only allowing 25 members in at a time which hasn’t been a problem as of yet.
“Just stay tune to our Facebook page and our website,” he added. “That’s were you will see if other branches are opening up different parts of their facilities.”
“We’re just excited to be open and we’re excited to see our members come back through the door,” Isais concluded. “We miss them and we’re happy to have them back.”