YMCA re­ceives AHS ap­proval to re­open hot tub and steam rooms


Lethbridge Herald - - Hometown News - Dale Woodard LETH­BRIDGE HER­ALD

Want a soak or a steam?

The Cor Van Raay YMCA is at work to make that hap­pen af­ter the west­side fa­cil­ity re­cently re­ceived clear­ance from Alberta Health Ser­vices to re­open the hot tub and steam rooms to ad­here to COVID-19 pro­to­col.

“Now we go through the phase of in­ves­ti­gat­ing the state of our hot tub and steam rooms af­ter be­ing shut down for six months,” said Ross Ja­cobs, direc­tor of com­mu­ni­ca­tions for the Leth­bridge YMCA. “So there’s water in the hot tub and we’re do­ing water leak test­ing for a cou­ple days to de­ter­mine if any­thing dried out over the course of it be­ing shut down. Then we have a man­dated, at least one-week pe­riod of com­pletely op­er­a­tional safe water that has to hap­pen. If any­thing hap­pens in the next few days from the date it’s given clear­ance we have to wait seven days from that. We’re not ready to an­nounce what date the hot tub and steam rooms will open, but we have def­i­nitely be­gun the process of get­ting those fa­cil­i­ties of­fered to Leth­bridge.”

The YMCA re­opened in AHS Phase 2 in July and Ja­cobs said the swim­mers re­turn­ing to the fa­cil­ity have been re­spect­ful of pol­icy and pro­ce­dure.

“I think peo­ple un­der­stand they have to bal­ance their recre­ation with the new re­stric­tions that are in place. The one thing I’m ex­cited about is we haven’t had any ma­jor con­flicts.

There hasn’t been any un­due pres­sure on our life­guards to have to say too much to folks.”

Over­all, the flow of re­turn­ing swim­mers over the past two months has been slow, but Ja­cobs stressed the YMCA has taken mea­sures to en­sure safety.

“I will tell Leth­brid­gians we have put a lot of pro­tec­tions in place to keep them safe. So if they’ve been on the fence about whether to come back and swim or come back and use any of the fa­cil­i­ties, def­i­nitely know we have your pro­tec­tion and safety at heart.”

Ja­cobs said the hot tub and steam rooms will fol­low pan­demic oc­cu­pancy lim­its like ev­ery­thing else.

“So there will def­i­nitely be sig­nif­i­cantly less peo­ple in both our hot tubs and steam rooms. We’re cur­rently do­ing the dis­tance cal­cu­la­tions right now and we are go­ing to ask Leth­bridge to be pa­tient and when our life­guards in­di­cate those spa­ces are full then it will be time to come back a lit­tle later. We are prob­a­bly go­ing to be look­ing at 10 to 15 per cent of nor­mal oc­cu­pancy in the hot tub and steam room, but we would rather of­fer the fa­cil­ity at a re­duced oc­cu­pancy than not of­fer it at all.”

Ja­cobs said YMCA mem­ber­ship re­ac­ti­va­tion is sit­ting at about 20 per cent of the 10,000 mem­bers they had be­fore the COVID clo­sure.

“In terms of weekly body flow through here we were at about 18,500 a week give or take (be­fore) and we’re down to 2,700 to 3,000 peo­ple a week.”

Ja­cobs said peo­ple who were YMCA mem­bers are still mem­bers and tech­ni­cally on hold and just have to call to re­ac­ti­vate their mem­ber­ship.

“We’re only see­ing about 1.5 per cent a week growth rate.”

New mem­bers are also wel­come. Go to www.leth­bridgeymca.ca for more in­for­ma­tion or call (403) 9425757.

Fol­low @DWoodard­Her­ald on Twit­ter

Her­ald photo by Ian Martens

Life­guard Brae­den Legge san­i­tizes a rail­ing in the pool area as a float­ing sign marks the hot tub closed at the YMCA. @IMarten­sHer­ald

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