Dear Members and Friends of the YMCA:
You may have heard the provincial government’s announcement regarding the ability of pools to open as of this weekend and may have wondered about the status of the pools at your YMCA.
In general, what surprises many people is how complex pool operations are. For example, it takes two weeks just to bring a pool up to swimming temperature and, following a list of other tasks to ready a pool and allowing time to train staff on new health protocols, a two-week notice must then be given to public health to allow for an inspection prior to opening.
In the case of the Y, during this pandemic, we have made every operational decision with safety as our number one priority. That is why we announced our closure ahead of the province. Today, our decisions must also weigh the long-term viability of your local YMCA as an important factor.
Throughout the COVID-19 closures, we have been transparent in our decision-making and in the realities faced by us and charities in general. I will be equally transparent with you now. We have to continually evaluate the cost of our operations to ensure that we remain a community asset into the future. In the new reality, we must find a sustainable financial model.
At this time, we have set no date to open our pools. Like you, we are hopeful that our facilities will be able to open fully very soon.
The good news is that Ontario is moving toward phase three of re-opening sooner than some had anticipated. We expect this means that our health, fitness and aquatic areas would be allowed to re-open on a restricted basis.
Until we know the full impact of all of the operational guidelines from the province and public health units, we are unable to specify a date for re-opening, however, it is possible that some Y services will be running before September.
I realize that this is not the news you were hoping for, but it is the situation facing us and one of the many outcomes of the coronavirus pandemic.
You may have also heard that the government has announced that childcare and day camps will be allowed to open. Although we will not be running our traditional day camps, we are working on scenarios for day care and summer care now, and hope to have news for you soon on both these fronts.
As always, I commit to keeping you up-to-date. Please contact me with any questions you may have.
CEO, YMCA of Eastern Ontario