The Gaston County Family YMCA will open its indoor fitness centers at three locations for members with a medical need for exercise directed by a medical professional beginning Friday, Aug. 7.
The three indoor fitness centers — Cherryville, Stowe and Warlick —will open at limited capacity to provide a place for members to exercise who need it, said YMCA CEO Sharon Padgett.
But, she emphasized, the YMCAs are not fully opened.
“This is not an opening of the YMCA. We are opening for a small population of our members who need it for medical reasons and can show a note from a medical provider,” Padgett said.
“To use the indoor fitness centers, Gaston County Family YMCA members must provide a note or prescription from a medical professional stating that the professional has prescribed physical exercise as a health regimen,” said Mary Moffitt, Stowe Family YMCA executive director.
The note does not need to explain why the member needs to exercise, she added.
Members who need to use the indoor fitness centers will provide a note or prescription from a medical professional to YMCA staffers at the front desk.
That information will be stored in the computer system so that when members swipe into the facility, the system will show they have a medical reason for using the centers.
The Gaston County Family YMCA is using the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services’ definition of medical professional, which lists several positions: licensed physicians, licensed physician’s assistants or nurse practitioners, licensed nurses, licensed chiropractors, licensed dietitians, licensed respiratory care therapists, licensed psychologists, licensed clinical mental health counselors, licensed occupational therapists, licensed physical therapists, licensed recreational therapists and licensed massage therapists.
The YMCA recognizes that many members are in need of a safe place to continue an exercise regimen, Padgett said. That is why the wellness centers are opening at limited capacity.
“We have a lot of members who need to exercise in a controlled environment, not at a heat index of 110 degrees,” she said.
While centers will open for those who need them, Padgett said, they will fully comply with Gov. Roy Cooper’s Executive Order 151, which allowed medical exceptions for the use of gyms and fitness centers.
The three fitness centers will operate with a reservation system, Moffitt said. Members can go online or call to reserve a time slot.
Members also will be required to wear a mask while entering and leaving the building, in hallways and common areas.
Members will not be required to wear a mask while exercising, but it is encouraged, Padgett said.
The Gaston County Family YMCA has had a reopening plan ready since May. All branches have prepared to accommodate social distancing and will have health and safety measures in place, Padgett said.
All equipment has been spaced so that the machines are at least 6 feet apart, if not more.
Members will be given a bottle of cleaner and a cloth before they enter the fitness area, she said. They will be instructed to clean any equipment before they use it and after.
YMCA staffers will monitor the fitness centers, Padgett said. Once a group has completed its time slot, staff members will clean the equipment before the next group goes in. All staffers will wear masks.
The fitness centers are not the first services to be reopened at the YMCA. Pools and outdoor fitness classes have been opened for a while and are running in a similar reservation system.
Members can learn more and make reservations on gastonymca.org.
Bill Poteat may be reached at 704-869-1855 or email@example.com.
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