For a Safer Us FAQs

At the First Coast YMCA, the safety and well-being of our members, staff, volunteers and participants has and always will be our top priority. We are reviewing our safety protocols regularly as guidance from the CDC and our local health experts changes.

At this time, there are no changes to our COVID-19 safety protocols, including requiring staff to wear masks at all time and members to wear masks in common areas where social distancing requirements cannot be met. 

We believe it is our social responsibility to keep these protocols in place in order to best protect everyone who enters our doors, including our community’s most vulnerable populations.

According to the Florida Department of Health, information from the CDC is a guideline and every organization must determine what is the safest approach based on how they serve the public.

What if I have been vaccinated?

According to the CDC, there are things we are still learning about the vaccines. For now, the CDC recommends everyone — even people who’ve had their vaccines — continue taking basic prevention steps.

Are children required to wear a mask at the Y?

Children ages 5 and older are required to wear a mask at the Y and in our Youth Development programs including KidZone, Before and Afterschool Care and Day Camp.

The CDC recommends all people 2 years of age and older wear a mask in public settings and when around people who don’t live in their household. Additionally, Florida’s surgeon general issued a public health advisory advising Floridians to “wear face coverings in any setting where social distancing is not possible.”

How did you make decisions about your safety protocols?
With guidance from health officials, government leaders, Y-USA and subject matter experts from our Metropolitan Board of Directors, the First Coast YMCA Reopening Task Force developed For A Safer Us: Reopening Roadmap.

The plan outlines our COVID-19 mitigation strategies, representing hundreds of hours of research and many thoughtful, informed discussions about how best to resume operations and safely serve members and program participants. All branches and programs are required to follow the protocols set by the First Coast YMCA Reopening Task Force.

Members of the Task Force frequently review new guidance from health officials and government leaders to determine if any changes need to be made to established safety protocols. Part of our review includes discussion with COVID-19 experts at the Florida Department of Health. According to the FL DOH, information from the CDC is a guideline and every organization must determine what is the safest approach based on how they serve the public.


What happens if I don’t want to follow these safety protocols?
Members and participants who fail to comply with new policies and procedures are putting others at risk. They may be asked to immediately leave the facility. Refusal to comply with these protocols, as stated in the Member Code of Conduct, may result in membership and participation suspension and ultimately termination.

What happens if someone at the Y tests positive for COVID-19?
Based on guidance from the CDC and recommendations from the Florida Department of Health, the individual cannot come back to the Y until he or she provides documentation of at least one negative COVID-19 test result, has been fever-free for 24 hours without medication and other symptoms have improved.

Will I be notified if someone tests positive at the Y?
We will notify anyone at the Y who may have had prolonged close contact* with someone who has recently tested positive. The health department has determined the risk of exposure to any other members is very low due to our extensive safety protocols. The health department has informed the Y that the health department is responsible for notifying anyone who may have had prolonged contact with a positive person (contact tracing**). However, out of an abundance of caution and as a courtesy, we will take this extra step to reduce the potential of further spread.

*According to the CDC, for COVID-19, close contact is defined as any individual who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes total within a 24-hour period starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to positive specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated. Read more

**According to the Florida Department of Health, when a person tests positive for a disease or condition, a public health case investigator will work with the patient to create a list of people they’ve been in contact with during a given time frame. The contact tracing expert then contacts each of those people so that they can take appropriate precautions (getting tested, self-isolation, monitor for symptoms, etc.) and, in turn, create a list of people they’ve been in contact with as necessary. Read more

Do I have to have a YMCA membership to get access to the Y?
Yes, an active membership is required to access amenities at the Y.

Are guests allowed?
Branch leadership can approve guest access but restrictions may apply. Contact your neighborhood Y for more information.

Will I need to make a reservation?
Yes, due to social distancing requirements, facility capacity and class size will be limited. Reservations will be required for the following:

  • Group Exercise including Aqua Aerobics
  • Lap Swim, Family Swim & Walking Lanes
  • Personal & Small Group Training
  • KidZone
  • Gym Activities

Group Exercise Reservations
Swim Reservations
KidZone Reservations
Gym Reservations

Do you have special hours for seniors?
Senior hours are 2:00pm-4:00pm Monday-Friday. Seniors can visit the branch during regular hours if they choose, but members are encouraged to allow this special time for our active older adults and other vulnerable populations. On Demand online workouts and other virtual services will be scheduled at this time and available to members.

What safety protocols will I be required to follow while at the Y?

  • Answer a Health Survey and Have Your Temperature Taken – Every person who comes to the Y will have to answer a health survey daily and have their temperature checked before they can come into the branch or site.
  • Avoid Close Contact – Members and participants will be asked to follow 6-foot social distancing guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • Wear a Mask or Face Covering – At the Y, you must wear a mask to check-in, in the lobby, when dropping off or picking up children at KidZone, waiting for a class to begin, in the locker rooms and any other common areas of the facility. Wearing a mask while in a group exercise class, using strength and cardio equipment, stretching and swimming is optional if you maintain social distancing at all times.
  • Wash Hands Often – Hand sanitizing stations and disinfectant wipes for equipment will be provided throughout the facility. We also encourage everyone to wash their hands frequently with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Clean Equipment Before and After Use – Members will be asked to wipe down any equipment they touch before and after use with the disinfectant wipes provided throughout our facilities. Additionally, members may experience wait times to allow time for extra sanitization of equipment on the wellness floor and in group exercise rooms.

What is the health survey?
Before access is allowed in our branches and/or programs, all staff, members, participants and guests will be required to complete a health assessment, which includes a temperature check and answer these questions:

  • Question 1:

    In the past 48 hours, have you or anyone in your household experienced these new or unexpected symptoms?

    • Fever (100.4 or higher) or feeling feverish (chills, sweating)
    • New cough
    • Difficulty breathing
    • Sore throat
    • Muscle aches or body aches
    • Vomiting or diarrhea
    • New loss of taste or smell
  • Question 2:

    Have you been in contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19?

What happens if I answer yes to any of the questions?
If you answer yes to any of the questions, you will be asked not to return to the Y until you have been fever and/or symptom-free for 48 hours. If you have had contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 and are not a health care worker or first responder wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) or practicing universal precautions, you cannot return to the Y for at least 14 days. You will be encouraged to get tested for COVID-19 and notify us if you test positive.

What happens after I pass the health assessment?
Members will move to the scanning station to scan their mobile app check-in or key fob and once checked-in, can proceed to the Wellness Floor or Group Exercise Class. Participants can proceed to their program area.

Why do you have to take my temperature and ask these questions?
Your safety – and the safety of everyone in our buildings and programs – is our number one priority. We are taking every precaution we can to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19. Temperature checks and health surveys are among the CDC’s recommended mitigation strategies.

Why do you require masks in certain areas of your facility?
The CDC recommends all people 2 years of age and older wear a mask in public settings and when around people who don’t live in their household. Additionally, Florida’s surgeon general issued a public health advisory advising Floridians to “wear face coverings in any setting where social distancing is not possible.”

Why are members not required to wear a mask while working out at the Y?
Wearing a mask while exercising at the First Coast YMCA is optional, if following social distancing guidelines. According to the CDC, individuals who are engaged in high intensity activities, like running on a treadmill or group exercise, may not be able to wear a face covering because it may cause difficulty breathing. Additionally, we have taken multiple steps to ensure that required social distancing is happening at the Y, including:

  • Limiting capacity in the pool, gym and group exercise class
  • Adding floor markers in group exercise studios
  • Adequately spacing equipment on the wellness floor
  • Blocking off lockers and showers in the locker rooms
  • Displaying social distancing reminders signage throughout the facility

What if I can’t wear a face mask because of a medical condition?
Individuals with a disability that prevents the individual from wearing a face mask or covering, may not be allowed at the Y, even if they have a disability, as they pose a direct threat to the health and safety of employees and other members, even if asymptomatic. The Y will suggest reasonable accommodations for disabled individuals in a manner that does not fundamentally alter our operations nor jeopardize the health of other employees or members.

Are there new branch hours?
Yes, the new hours vary by branch. These reduced hours will allow our staff extra time to clean, sanitize and “set the stage” for you as we ease into this first phase of reopening. We will continue to review and make adjustments as needed.

With reduced hours, how will the Y ensure branches don’t become crowded?
We have limited capacity in most programs and services. Cardio and strength equipment on the wellness floor is properly spaced or will be designated out-of-use to ensure social distancing guidelines are met. Group exercise classes have designated spacing spots to keep members six feet apart.

How long will it take to check-in? How early should I arrive before my class or program begins?
We expect the check-in process could take 5-10 minutes, depending on how many people arrive at the Y at the same time. To be safe, we recommend arriving 15 minutes before your scheduled class in case there is a longer wait.

Do I need to bring my own workout equipment like a mat for yoga?
We encourage you to bring your own but will provide sanitized equipment for your use.

Why do I need to sign a new waiver?
The waiver is the same one members sign when joining the First Coast Y, but in section one (paragraph three), the language has been updated to include “exposure to communicable diseases”.Additionally, we are going paperless and you can now sign the waiver electronically.

What safety protocols are employees required to follow?

  • Stay Home if Sick – Staff who have a fever or are not feeling well are told to stay at home. All staff will be required to complete a health assessment, which includes a survey and a temperature check, before every shift.
  • Wear a Mask – Employees, except Rescue Ready lifeguards and Group Exercise instructors teaching class, must wear face masks during their shift. Staff will also be required to wear gloves when performing health assessments or serving food and/or beverages.
  • Practice Social Distancing – All staff will be required to practice proper social distancing while at work.
  • Wash Your Hands Often – Hand sanitizing stations and disinfectant wipes for equipment will be provided throughout the facility. We also encourage our employees to wash their hands frequently with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Clean and Disinfect – Cleaning is a major component of all First Coast YMCA job duties. All staff will be required to clean and disinfect surfaces often. There are no exceptions.
  • Complete Required Training – All staff will be required to complete For A Safer Us training.

Will I be safe at the Y if I am considered to be in a vulnerable population?
While we are doing our part to ensure the safety of everyone in our facilities, the CDC says older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 and it is recommended they stay home and away from crowds as much as possible. More information from the CDC about people at higher risk can be found here.

Are there any options for members who do not yet feel safe to return to the Y?
On Demand online workouts and other virtual services are available to members.

How often does the Y clean its equipment and facilities?
Employees clean equipment and frequently touched surfaces in all zones at least three times daily and after individual use. This includes toys and other frequently touched objects in KidZone, Before and Afterschool Care and other youth serving programs. In addition, a professional cleaning service performs a thorough cleaning of the facility every night. We also encourage members to wipe down exercise equipment before and after use with the disinfectant wipes provided on the wellness floor.

What kind of cleaners does the Y use?
The Y will only use products on List N: Disinfectants for use against SARS-CoV-2 that meet the EPA’s criteria for use against the virus that causes COVID-19.

Why can’t you turn on the fans?
According to the CDC, ceiling fans with upward airflow combined with a UV disinfection system can be utilized. We have ordered UV-C units for our HVAC units and are waiting on delivery so that we can use ceiling fans with upward flow.

What if the wipes dispenser is empty or the equipment is dirty?
Please notify a staff member who will address your concerns immediately.

What programs or services are not available at the Y?
The following programs and services are suspended at this time:

  • ActivTrax or FastForward Fitness Appointments
  • Open Gym (i.e., pickup basketball games)
  • Swim Team Suspended
  • Swim Lessons Suspended
  • Towel Service Suspended
  • Sauna & Steam Room Closed
  • Playgrounds Closed
  • Dye Clay, St. Augustine & duPont YMCA Pools Closed

Are pools open?
Pools are open at all branches except at the Dye Clay, St. Augustine and duPont YMCAs. Reservations are required for Lap Swim, Family Swim and Aqua Aerobics.

Are locker rooms available?
Yes, please observe social distancing requirements inside locker rooms. There are also new processes for locker room and shower use:


  • We are limiting the availability of public lockers in order to ensure adequate cleaning and disinfecting.
  • Lockers marked with a green dot have been cleaned inside and out and are available for use.
  • The outside door panel and lock on reserved lockers will be cleaned regularly throughout the day.
  • Wipes will also be available in locker rooms for members to use for additional cleaning.

Showers & Towel Service

  • Showers will be available on a limited basis. Please check with your branch for more information.
  • Showers that are marked with a chain across the opening are clean and available for use.
  • Towel service will be suspended at this time.
  • Members are encouraged to bring their own towel and other necessities.

Is the steam room and/or sauna open?
Steam Rooms and Saunas will not be in use at this time due to requirements for social distancing, cleaning and disinfecting.

Are massage services available?
At this time, massage services will not be offered due to social distancing requirements.

Is tennis available at the Williams Family YMCA?
Singles and Doubles play will be allowed. Tournaments will not be scheduled at this time.

Are the Healthy Living Centers open?
Healthy Living Centers are open. Participants will need to follow safety protocols set by Baptist Health, Brooks Rehabilitation and Florida Blue.
Healthy Living Center Info

Can I place my membership on hold?
Thank you for your patience and understanding during these unprecedented times. It is our privilege to serve you and our community. While we understand you may feel the need to place your membership on hold, we are encouraging all members to stay engaged with the First Coast YMCA. Please contact your branch to learn more about your options.

How do I make a complaint or give feedback about service?
You can ask to speak to the Executive Director, any Experience team member at the branch or complete an instant feedback survey.

How can I get updates about the reopening of branches and programs?
Check our website often for updates, allow notifications from our mobile app and follow us on Facebook. We’ll also continue to send updates through email.