Birmingham YMCA, Jewish Community Center to re-open following COVID-19 closures

Birmingham YMCA, Jewish Community Center to re-open following COVID-19 closures
YMCA of Greater Birmingham and Levite Jewish Community Center to re-open to members on June 1. (Getty Images)

The leadership of the YMCA of Greater Birmingham (YMCA) and the Levite Jewish Community Center (LJCC) announced the planned re-opening to members on Monday, June 1.

Workout equipment will be reorganized to accommodate more people within safe distances. (Getty Images)

Both organizations closed their facilities on Monday, March 16. Within days, both organizations had mobilized to continue serving the community in critically important ways through emergency childcare services for frontline workers, food services and blood drives. So far the organizations have provided approximately 3,200 hours of childcare combined. Through their food program, the LJCC has served more than 1,300 meals and provided 500 grocery boxes. The YMCA’s partnership with the American Red Cross has yielded 150 units of blood from blood drives held at their locations.

“We’ve been working closely with local health officials and specialists at UAB since the outbreak began,” said Dan Pile, president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Birmingham. “For everyone’s safety, we opted to delay re-opening. We are eager to be open, but we are more eager for the wellness of our community. We continue to prioritize the safety of our members, our team and their families as we implement new protocols upon opening.”

“We’ve been working on a ‘responsible reopening’ plan since the day we closed,” said Samantha Dubrinsky, LJCC executive director. “Implementing a careful, considered approach to reopening is one important way that we’re serving our members. We are committed to their safety. A delay provided the time we needed to properly equip our team and adjust our structure and facilities. On June 1, our members will return to a familiar place with an adjusted experience, designed with expert guidance from infectious disease specialists.”

Precautions put in place by the YMCA

YMCA of Greater Birmingham and Levite Jewish Community Center members are encouraged to wear face coverings. (Getty Images)
  • Social distancing will be required
  • Workout equipment spaced to establish safe distancing
  • Additional training for staff members on CDC safety guidelines
  • Staff required to wear face coverings
  • Members encouraged to wear face coverings
  • Staff and member temperatures taken at entry and screened using CDC guidelines
  • Class sizes limited to facilitate distancing and will require reservations
  • Pool limited to lap swim only, by reservation only.

Precautions put in place by the LJCC

  • Social distancing will be required
  • Members will sign up for facility use in advance to ensure appropriately distanced use
  • Equipment reorganized to accommodate more people within safe distances
  • Additional training for staff members on CDC safety guidelines
  • Staff and members required to wear face coverings
  • Members who come onsite will be screened according to CDC health guidelines through our Safety Ambassadors, a new position created to ensure everyone’s safety
  • Creation of a Customer Care Line to address any member concerns
  • Group fitness classes remain virtual until further notice.

“One bright spot in this has been the opportunity for collaboration between like-organizations,” Pile continued. “The YMCA and the LJCC have complementary missions; we provide similar services to our members and significant outreach to the broader community. We want to share our experiences and best practices, and are grateful to learn from the LJCC’s.” “People are talking about what learnings we’ll take with us as things progress into ‘normal,’ and I hope deeper collaboration tops that list for everyone.” added Dubrinsky. “Being open and eager to help others facing similar challenges can only strengthen all of us.”

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