ymca toronto

YMCAs near Toronto are starting to reopen and here's what's different now

Seven more Ontario public health units are slated to progress into Stage 3 of reopening this Friday, and those establishments that were unable to operate under the prior phase are gearing up to open their doors — including indoor restaurant and bar areas, movie theatres, and gym and community facilities like the YMCA.

Though Toronto will remain stuck back in Stage 2 until at least July 31 (along with Peel and Windsor-Essex), Greater Toronto YMCAs in nearby Markham and Oshawa — which are part of York and Durham Regions — will be resuming operations with a slew of new health and safety protocols.

For starters, programming will be altered and cut back, and wet spaces such as showers and indoor pools, will be off limits. Team sports will also be prohibited for the time being.

Select group fitness classes where participants can remain distanced, however, will restart on July 24, as well as personal training appointments and individual strength training and cardio activities.

Scheduling will be staggered to avoid undue crowding and contact between guests, and outdoor spaces will be used for classes when possible.

Like any business that is operating in these times, cleaning and sanitization is being ramped up, with additional staff being brought in for the task.

All equipment has also been moved at least eight feet apart — more than the usual physical distancing requirements — and plexiglass has been installed at entry points. Towel service and equipment and room rentals will no longer be offered.

Members will also be screened for COVID-19 symptoms before entering the building, and will be asked to keep a safe distance from others and use the provided hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes.

They will also need to wear a mask right up until they begin a physical activity (staff will be wearing PPE at all times) and are encouraged to come dressed for a workout to avoid unnecessary exposure to others in change rooms.

The clubs' capacities will also be limited, and patrons will need to make reservations through a new booking system before coming for their workout or class — what appears to be the new normal for all gyms for the foreseeable future.

And for those of us living in Toronto who have grown tired of months of home workouts, we now know what to expect when fitness facilities open up again (which will hopefully be sooner than later).

Lead photo by

Jesse Milns

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