Local YMCA reopens after ban on gyms, fitness centers lifted

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After its closing in mid-March, the Ponte Vedra YMCA has recently announced it will be reopening, beginning Monday, May 25.

The Y’s decision has come after a recent announcement from Gov. Ron DeSantis regarding the reopening of gyms across the state of Florida.

According to a YMCA of Florida’s First Coast news release, branches will be implementing a phased approach to “order to properly prepare our 15 branches for our nearly 48,000 members and train more than 850 employees on new safety guidelines.”

“Just like a lot of businesses, we are not going to look quite the same when we reopen,” said Charlie Chacos, district executive director, Ponte Vedra YMCA. “That might be limited class sizes and doing social distancing in the building. Our lap swimming pool will look different when we open. We are looking forward to opening and welcoming our members in the Ponte Vedra community, however.”

After closing due to pandemic restrictions, the Ponte Vedra YMCA stayed active and engaged despite its doors being shut.  The location served as a hub for emergency and first responder childcare, provided online classes and even reached out to its 65 and up members to regularly check up on them during social isolation.

“We’ve been making calls to our seniors and letting them know they do have a resource and there are people thinking of them and if they need anything,” Chacos said.  

Due to Ponte Vedra’s high senior population, the YMCA is taking extra precautions to ensure their older patrons can still enjoy the benefits of their membership while staying safe. The branch plans to update their hours of operation by allotting time for older members and vulnerable populations, as well as enforcing face masks for all staff and requiring temperatures to be monitored upon entry for both members and staff. 

“We have a very large 50 and older population,” Chacos said. “The YMCA is really about building community and that's what we’re focused on.” 

The Ponte Vedra YMCA will reopen on Monday, May 25 from 7 a.m.-3 p.m. For more information visit fcymca.org/locations/ponte-vedra-ymca.

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