Marion County fitness centers will be allowed to reopen Monday as local officials continue to ease restrictions put in place to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The YMCA of Greater Indianapolis announced this week it will reopen eight of its Marion County locations. The Athenaeum, Avondale Meadows, Baxter, Benjamin Harrison, Irsay Family, Jordan, OrthoIndy Foundation, and Ransburg centers will open their doors at 5 a.m. on Monday.
Several YMCA locations outside of Marion County reopened Sunday with extra precautions such as health screening questions prior to entry, spaces for social distancing, and enhanced cleaning procedures.
With the new protocols in place, the gyms, indoor pools, and Play & Learn for ages 3 and older in small groups will be available.
Parts of the facilities will be temporarily unavailable, including showers and locker rooms. Other areas temporarily off limits include saunas and whirlpools, racquetball courts, running tracks, computer labs, climbing walls, and playgrounds.
Derrick Stewart, president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis, says members should be prepared for some inconveniences.
"I just really encourage people to be understanding and patient," says Stewart. "Ultimately what we are trying to do is effectively reopen and provide a great environment for all of our participants."
The YMCA says it has sanitized all of its centers and placed hand sanitizing stations throughout the buildings. It has also stepped up cleaning procedures, sanitizing throughout the day and misting facilities with an EPA registered broad spectrum disinfectant.
David Flench, an American College of Sports Medicine certified exercise physiologist and the director of Wellness Centers & Diabetes Education at Hancock Regional Health, says wiping down equipment is one of the most important things to do as fitness facilities reopen.
And there are things individuals can do, too.
Thomas Duszynski, Ph.D., director of epidemiology education at IUPUI, recommends face masks for fitness center goers as spaces begin to reopen.
"I think if you're going to be in a public space, indoors, wearing a mask is some of the best protection we have right now," says Duszynski.