YMCA guests required to register ahead of time before visiting

Both La Crosse Area Family YMCA facilities reopening June 1

ONALASKA, Wis. (WKBT) – Both La Crosse Area Family YMCA facilities are going to reopen Monday.

The Y will reopen in phases.

For guests thinking about going there for a workout, it’s a good idea to plan ahead of time.

“We want to make sure that we can physical distance people,” La Crosse Area Family YMCA CEO Bill Soper said. “And so, in order to that, we need to know how many people are going to be in our facility.”

Soper says all guests will need to register for an activity three days ahead of time. Each member will have a one-hour time limit, but there are several activities to choose from.

“So our child watch will be open at both Y’s,” Soper said. “We’re going to limit of children we’re caring for. The pools will be open…The wellness centers are going to open, we’re going to be doing some fitness classes.”

Gyms will be available as well, but there is a catch.

“No pickle ball, no pick-up basketball, because you can’t physical distance when doing those activities,” Soper said.

But the Y isn’t just preparing to bring its members back.

“We laid off 38 full-time and 524 part-time staff back in mid-March when we closed,” Soper said. “We haven’t called back the entire laid-off, full-time staff team because we’re going to do that in phases over the summer.”

Member services lead Caitlyn Russell kept her job, but she says it was a bit of an adjustment period.

“Right at 5 a.m., I have a line out the door, I don’t have that anymore,” Russell said. “It’s definitely way too quiet for my liking.”

However, she’s kept herself busy.

“I’ve been making calls to certain members over the few months, and reaching out to see how they’re doing,” Russell said.

Only a few people have cancelled their memberships.

“I think the number they said about 5,000 families stayed with us,” Russell said. “And that was a relief that they were still supporting us.”

Soper says other Y’s in the state have already reopened.

“As they’ve had more days open, they’re seeing more people come back,” Soper said.

And it turns out some swimmers are eager to take a dive.

“Already the swimming pool at the Houser Y is booked for much of Monday,” Soper said.

The first phase of reopening will last for at least 30 days, although that can change.

Both Y’s will be open Monday through Friday from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on Saturdays from 6:30 a.m. to noon.

All YMCA staff will be screened.

Most staff will wear masks, except for lifeguards, fitness instructors and childcare workers.