Back in the swing of things

The Fergus Falls Area Family YMCA reopened in June and has seen a number of changes to help protect members and staff during the pandemic.

The YMCA has been reopened since June after being closed for three months and that reopening has brought with it a number of changes to better protect staff and members. Gyms were allowed to reopen in Minnesota on June 10 with restrictions and the YMCA was prepared on June 17 to open their doors again at 6 a.m.

Part of their restrictions include 25% capacity, meaning about 45 members allowed inside at a time, though membership and marketing director Emily Stawarski says members have been visiting at different times and they have not had issues with reaching the maximum. “We follow the state mask policy and ask members to wear masks when entering the building, exiting, and moving between areas. Members do not need to wear a mask while exercising though it is encouraged if it can be done safely,” she says. “Members are asked to limit their time in the building and leave through our side door. We also are asking members to sanitize their machines before and after use with the solution and paper towels provided. Staff is also cleaning all spaces regularly.”

Group fitness classes are slowly starting up again and can be found on the Fergus Falls YMCA website or Y app. “We currently have Body Pump, Zumba, FIT45 and Insanity on the schedule with more to come,” says health and wellness director Stacey Vaughn. Fitness classes require reservations to attend, as do swimming pool lap lanes and the racquetball courts. “To attend a class we are now asking members to email me at to reserve their spot by 2 p.m. the day before the class,” says Vaughn.

Nearly three months after reopening, the YMCA has seen a drop in membership numbers and visits. “However, we are starting to see little increases in visits as people become more comfortable with the safety procedures we’ve put in place,” says Stawarski. “As we work through our phases to safely add in our programming, classes and other amenities, we have seen little increases in member visits as well as positive feedback. Our members can see we are trying our best to keep them safe.”

The YMCA is open Monday through Friday from 5 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Checking in can be done from the front door and members are asked to check out at the side door.

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