By SCOTT COTTOS

STAFF WRITER

They weren’t kidding when they said life comes at you fast.

On Wednesday afternoon, Executive Director Tim Yenrick talked about a steady-as-she-goes approach to the coronavirus, noting that high standards at the Geary Family YMCA meant only that those in the building would be need to be a tad more mindful of cleanliness, with no wide-sweeping changes necessary.

By Thursday morning, wide-sweeping changes were underway.

“This thing’s changing every hour,” Yenrick said Thursday.

Yenrick said the YMCA will remain open, with extra cleaning taking place and changes made in regard to how many people are present.

He said that with national YMCA headquarters having sent its chapters some guidelines to follow during the virus scare, the local facility is doing extra cleaning on a daily basis, including an all-day project on Tuesday, when the YMCA will be a voting site.

“From the national YMCA, we got a two-page piece,” he said. “It gives guidance on cleaning, it gives guidance on members and what they should do when they’re at the Y, versus what they should do if they don’t come in to the Y.”

Staff have been instructed to stay home if they are sick in any way. And a sign has been posted at the front desk instructing visitors to leave if they are ill. Members are also encouraged to keep everything possible outside the facility to keep themselves healthy.

He said the YMCA has always emphasized having a clean facility that is tended to by members, guests and staff. As examples, wipes are provided to use on the workout equipment, hand-sanitizing stations are set up all around the building and the pool is tested on a daily basis to be compliant with all regulations.

Procedures are being stepped up, though, in light of current events.

“We’ve increased our cleaning of surfaces throughout the day — door-handles, those types of things,” Yenrick said. “We are going to have staff on duty Tuesday for the elections. We will have maintenance staff here throughout the day, doing ongoing cleaning. We’re increasing (cleaning) overall, in general.”

Steps along the line of limiting crowds have been the cancellations of an Easter event and a children’s fitness day previously scheduled for April.

“We’ll assess for May and June going forward,” Yenrick said.

Gov. Mike DeWine on Thursday said Ohio schools would be going on a three-week “spring break” beginning the end of the day Monday, and during that time, the YMCA will not accept guest passes, Yenrick said.

Yenrick said the Y’s child-care operations for the preschool, toddler and elementary-school groups will continue. The lone change, he said, will be those in the elementary-school group having their schedule changed from before or after school to all day.

“Our focus is, No. 1, to limit the number of people that are utilizing the facility and take care of our active membership,” Yenrick said.

Yenrick said preparation has been important as the virus scare has intensified, but there’s also been a vagueness to exactly what situations might crop up.

“We’re in new territory, so it’s hard to anticipate what we need to do and be ready for it,” he said. “Everybody’s working together right now. I think we’re taking all the right steps. The biggest issue is how long this is going to be and the severity of it. It’s the unknowns that are the really difficult things. All we can do is follow directions from the people in charge, who have the information.

“Our biggest goal is to make sure our facility is safe, that people have a place to go where they feel safe, and we’ll keep working to that end.”

 

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