For a Safer Us FAQs

Updated July 2021

At the First Coast YMCA, safety is our number one priority. We are diligently monitoring all national and local updates surrounding the current COVID-19 situation.

Members of the First Coast YMCA COVID-19 Task Force frequently review new guidance from the CDC and health experts to determine if any changes need to be made to our established safety protocols.

Our decisions are made after taking into consideration the many different populations that we serve, including children and high-risk individuals. We share any potential policy updates as quickly as it is safe and practical to do so.

Update – July 27: The Y’s COVID-19 Task Force will review the CDC’s new recommended guidance on masks and if a decision is made to adjust our policy, we will communicate the change with our staff, members, participants, volunteers and guests.

Our protocols include:

  • Requiring masks for staff
  • Requiring masks for children ages 5-11 who are not eligible for the vaccine
  • Highly encouraging masks for all others, especially those not fully vaccinated
  • Observing social distancing in all areas
  • Reducing class sizes and requiring reservations
  • Regularly cleaning and disinfecting all areas and equipment

We have also invested in an additional safety measure at our branches and overnight camp, installing innovative UV technology in our heating/air conditioning systems to eliminate airborne viruses like the coronavirus.

For our youth programs including camp, sports and before & afterschool care, we are encouraging parents to do everything they can to reduce their child’s potential exposure before arriving at the Y so that everyone can have a safe and fun experience.

We appreciate everyone’s understanding and support to help us all stay healthy together.

FAQs

Do I have to wear a mask at the Y?
According to new CDC guidelines released May 13, 2021, if you are fully vaccinated, you can safely resume activities that you did prior to the pandemic, without wearing a mask. At the Y, we ask that everyone continue to do their part to care for and respect one another as we serve many different people in our community, including children and other high-risk individuals who are still unable to get vaccinated.

  • All Y employees, except Rescue Ready lifeguards and Group Exercise instructors teaching class, must wear face masks during their shift. 
  • All members, participants and guests ages 12 and older are highly encouraged to wear a mask at the Y. If the Y is located inside a building owned by one of our partners, the Y and its members, participants and guests must follow the partner’s policies.
  • Children ages 11 and younger are not eligible for the vaccine. For this reason, children ages 5-11 are required to wear a mask in our programs unless they are able to maintain social distance and/or are engaged in high-intensity activities including group exercise, running on a treadmill, playing outside or playing sports.

Does my child have to wear a mask in KidZone?
We have updated our mask policy to reflect new guidance from the CDC regarding face mask requirements for fully vaccinated individuals.

  • Children ages 11 and younger are not eligible for the vaccine.
  • For this reason, children ages 5-11 are required to wear a mask in our programs unless they are able to maintain social distance and/or are engaged in high-intensity activities including group exercise, running on a treadmill, playing outside or playing sports.

Does my child have to wear a mask at camp?
We have updated our mask policy to reflect new guidance from the CDC regarding face mask requirements for fully vaccinated individuals.

  • Children ages 11 and younger are not eligible for the vaccine.
  • For this reason, children ages 5-11 are required to wear a mask in our programs unless they are able to maintain social distance and/or are engaged in high-intensity activities including group exercise, running on a treadmill, playing outside or playing sports.

See CDC guidance regarding mask considerations

Will the Y check vaccination records?
No. On April 2, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed an executive order, banning state and local government agencies and businesses that receive state funds from requiring so-called vaccine passports, or documentation proving that an individual has been vaccinated against COVID-19.

Although we can’t ask about someone’s vaccination status, we encourage everyone to model the Y’s core values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility and be considerate of all the populations we serve, including children and other high-risk individuals who are unable to get vaccinated.

What other safety protocols am I required to follow at the Y?

  • 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).
  • 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 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.

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.

Are locker rooms available?
Yes, please observe social distancing requirements inside locker rooms. 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.

Is the steam room and/or sauna open?
Steam and Sauna are available with limited capacity to account for social distancing.

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

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 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.

**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.

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.

Are there any options for members who do not yet feel safe to return to the Y?
LIVE and 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.

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

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 branchto learn more about your options.

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