La Crosse gyms will continue COVID safety precautions after anticipated membership surge in new year

LA CROSSE (WKBT) — A new year is approaching, bringing along new goals. One of the most common is working out.

“At the beginning of the new year, we expect and often see a lot of new members join the Y,” said Travis Pernsteiner, marketing director for the La Crosse Area YMCA.

YMCA member Ben Hanson says his New Year’s resolution is to train for a 5k.

“Trying to get on the treadmills here at the Y and trying to be able to practice for that coming up in the spring,” Hanson said.

Hanson was working out at his home at the start of COVID.

“And then I slowly transitioned my way back into the gym,” Hanson said.

But as more people sign up for a membership, the YMCA does not plan to change its COVID safety guidelines at its Dahl Family YMCA in La Crosse or its R.W. Houser Family YMCA in Onalaska.

“Our wellness center staff are continually wiping down equipment and encouraging people to be distanced from one another,” Pernsteiner said.

Social distancing is not enforced at the YMCA, and masks also will remain optional.

“Our staff are required and our members are encouraged,” Pernsteiner said.

Despite Omicron cases surging in Wisconsin, Hanson said he feels safe with the current precautions.

“They always have the sanitizing buckets here at the y which is really nice,” Hanson said.

The YMCA said its new 24-hour membership option will allow people who are concerned to come in when there are fewer people.

“And they can choose to come in at off times and lower times when they have more space to themselves,” Pernsteiner said.

The CDC recommends turning off every other piece of equipment to encourage people to distance themselves.

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