The YMCA is my go-to gym but I haven’t been since February 2020. Since one of my New Year’s Resolutions is to get back into shape, I began looking into returning. I am fortunate to have a treadmill, stationary bike, rowing machine and dumbbells at home. So I am only interested in pool access. Due to COVID-19, the numbers of people both in the gym and pool are limited. If you wish to use the pool, you need to register in advance. For Rhode Island, you can do it here.
YMCA COVID-19 Swimming
There are a few changes to swimming at the YMCA during the pandemic. Depending on the time of day and the YMCA location, there is either one person allowed per lane or two. Personally, I wish it was always like this, it is so peaceful! My go-to YMCA is in Cranston even thought Kent County is closer to my home. It has a larger pool with six lanes and they offer more lap-swimming time slots. The Kent County has only four lanes and offers more family and leisure swimming. I recommend calling around to see your options.
I didn’t decide to go swimming until yesterday afternoon. It was really easy to re-new my membership, there is an option online but you can also simple call them. It took just a few clicks online to register to use the pool. This can also be done over the phone. Everything was fast, smooth and easy! I also turned out to be one of four women swimming in six lanes. Other than us four, there was only one other person in the pool area and that was a masked lifeguard.
Everyone kept their distance and remained masked until they got into the pool. Women are extra safe because there are two changing rooms dedicated for us. The family changing room is only used by women entering the pool. Then the women’s changing room is only used by women leaving the pool. So you only share space with a handful of people who remain masked at all times. There is no access to lockers so you have to bring your stuff into the pool area.
Did It Feel Safe?
My only concern during the entire experience, was that two women came together that weren’t into swimming. In the time that I swam 50 slow laps, they did about 5 while talking loudly the entire time. I don’t think that they weren’t breaking any rules that I am aware of. However it disruptive plus loud talking between lanes is way more germy than quiet swimming. Since there was an empty lane on either side of me, I still felt safe and distanced.
I did sign up to swim during a time where there are two people per lane. They make sure you start on opposite ends so there’s minimal contact. However, I think I will change to a time where it’s one person per lane instead. I’m not an overly paranoid person when it comes to COVID-19, but better safe than sorry. Although I’m sure that the YMCA is extra careful during these busier swims.
Last year I paid $35 per month because I am under 30. Currently it’s up to $40 a month, but I’d be happy to pay even more. There is a $50 registration fee for first time joiners. If you have a paused membership then you can renew it for free. If you join in the middle of the month, you will pay less based on the date. For example, if you join on the 20th, you’ll only pay about a third of the $40.
It looks like the YMCA is doing virtual events as well to keep people active at home. Check out their website and call your local YMCA to see what they are up to. Their registration process makes it easy to do contact tracing in case it’s necessary. While it’s safest to stay home and wait until everyone is vaccinated, they are doing an amazing job. I am not sure how often I’ll be going swimming. But I am so grateful that it is now a possibility again.
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