YMCA works hard to provide safe opportunities


When it comes to staying healthy and active, Karen Catanzaro of Rome depends on the programs and services at her local Rome Family YMCA at 301 W. Bloomfield St. A member for six years, Catanzaro, age 66, has found the Y to be an integral part her life, especially now.

“Coming to the YMCA keeps me strong,” Catanzaro explained. “But, just as important, the variety of classes help me get rid of stress and keep a positive attitude during this challenging time.”

“As soon as the Y reopened, I knew I wanted to be there. I wasn’t going to let fear keep me away,” she added. “I feel safe at the Y. I see the staff cleaning continuously and following all the New York safety protocols.”

Catanzaro attends water aerobics, Hydro Spin, Aqua Zumba, and tabata classes in the pool in addition to step interval, Silver Sneakers and yoga classes in the gym.

The YMCA of the Greater Tri-Valley, with facilities in Rome and Oneida, continues to ensure a safe and healthy environment for all ages by following current guidelines and implementing new practices, said Chief Executive Officer Hank Leo.

“Since we were mandated to close our buildings last March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have done our due diligence by following New York State and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) mandates, obtaining clearance from the health departments in both Oneida and Madison counties, and revising procedures accordingly,” said Leo. “We clean non-stop and disinfect our entire facilities hourly, including equipment, locker rooms and shared space. We have had zero positive cases, not even a high temperature.”

Leo said the necessity for people to continue to workout to remain healthy during the pandemic has become of utmost importance. Staying active, “is the best way to fight off illness,” he said, adding that staying home and gaining weight will only result in other health complications down the road.

Gyms and workout facilities have been deemed by the governor among the safest industries with Y’s reporting less than a 1 percent positivity rate for the virus. “Y’s are safe. Our group exercise classes are doing very well, especially given they’re at 33 percent maximum capacity,” said Leo.

The Y also continues to put forth efforts in offering diverse programming. For some time, the Oneida Family YMCA has been offering an archery program, and that just became available at the Rome Family Y. “Families have been trying the archery program and have really enjoyed it,” Leo said. “Our cardio room has been a little low, but some people don’t like wearing a mask the whole time they’re working out, while others are doing it and don’t have a problem.”

As for membership during the pandemic, the Y CEO said it’s kept “two-thirds of our members,” but (among about 1,200), several have just put their memberships on hold until there is a vaccine and feel safe returning.

What to expect when coming to the Rome and Oneida YMCAs:

Sanitation and Disinfection

• HALO LED air purifiers were installed in the ventilation system. Every cubic inch of air conditioned space is proactively treated to reduce airborne and surface contaminants and pollutants.

• Additional hand sanitizing stations have been installed throughout the facilities. Wipes, paper towels and cleaning supplies are provided.

• Staff revised schedules and instituted brief closures throughout the day to allow for cleaning.

• Trained staff focuses on continual sanitation of all areas.

Health Checks

• All staff, members and visitors are asked several health screening questions prior to entering the facilities.

• Temperature screenings are conducted each time a person enters.

• Anyone showing signs of COVID-19 or who has a temperature of 100 degrees or higher is not admitted.

Face Covering Policy

• Members, staff and visitors must abide by the state requirement for masks.

• Masks must be worn upon entering the building and in all workout areas (except while in the water).

• Masks must cover nose and mouth (bandanas, buffs and gaiters are not acceptable).

Social Distancing

• As always, members and visitors are required to scan in at the welcome desk. Stationary scanners are available for contactless scanning. Plexiglas shields have been installed at the welcome desks so visitors are able to safely talk with staff.

• Floor markers keep 6-foot distancing when entering the buildings.

• Monitored capacity (currently 33 percent) in all areas to control social distancing.

• Members are asked to register for a specific time, wellness area or class by using the YMCA mobile app, the website or by calling the facility’s main telephone number.

• Equipment is spaced out and signage or markers on the floors make social distancing easy.

• Signage clearly directs the flow of traffic, including a single entrance and designated exits for each area of the buildings.

“We want every member to feel confident and safe at the Rome and Oneida YMCAs,” Leo said. “When we first reopened in September, we offered private tours to those who needed additional assurance. We can do that again. We want all members to be comfortable utilizing our services.”

Individuals interested in more information about safety and programming can call the Rome branch at 315-336-3500, the Oneida branch at 315-363-7788, or visit www.ymcatrivalley.org.


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