Arguably no other business model has been challenged as much by the COVID-19 pandemic than gyms and wellness facilities.
Many of those kind of facilities that rely on patrons coming in and working out or participating in a wellness activity in numbers larger than 10.
With the guidance limiting gatherings to 10 people or less from the CDC, followed by the Kansas Gov.’s “Stay-At-Home Order” many gyms and workout facilities are struggling to survive in the state of Kansas and around the world.
Because of the pandemic, the Salina Family YMCA has now been shutdown for almost a full month as the facility closed its doors to almost all of its operations on March 17, and nearly all of them remain suspended or canceled in to the foreseeable future.
YMCA President/CEO Angie Lassley says that due to the COVID-19 outbreak, youth sports season (spring soccer & volleyball), after school programming, gymnastics, other wellness programs, and of course, the pool have all been shut down or canceled.
Because of the uncertainty and length surrounding the shutdown, that caused the Salina Family YMCA to have layoff or furlough much of its staff–which was 205 prior to the outbreak, with 35 full-time employees.
Much like many other businesses, Lassley called the decision to majorly cut back on staff a difficult one.
While the YMCA remains closed to many of its services, one in particular remains open at its normal times: childcare.
Lassley says that it is important that the YMCA continues to provide that service to the community, but notes that staff is very concerned about screening other staff, children and parents every day for illness and heavily emphasize hand washing to ensure that the safely program continues.
Even with the shutdown of traditional workouts and wellness, that also hasn’t stopped the Salina Family YMCA from connecting with its senior clientele as well as other virtual workout plans for regular patrons.
Lassley says that this has given her staff the opportunity to be creative during the shutdown.
It’s the social connection that remains important to the Salina Family YMCA. And with that virtual connection that the facility continues to make with area residents, Lassley sees an opportunity for continued growth of the virtual programs even once the pandemic is over.
One of the programs that the YMCA is excited for is a community, virtual partnership with organizations like the Salina Fire Department.
Coming to the YMCA’s Facebook soon is another virtual class called “Hands Only CPR Webinars.” It features a partnership between both the Salina Family YMCA and the Salina Fire Department that also helps make community connections.
Even with the uncertainty around when things will get back to some sort of “normal,” Lassley anticipates having normal YMCA activities in Salina for this summer. It’s a process that staff at the YMCA has continued to work on through the pandemic to offer those extra services to the community.
That normalcy is what many folks around the area continue to crave during the COVID-19 pandemic. And its that normalcy that Lassley and staff at the YMCA look to offer once things are deemed safe.
The pandemic has cost a lot of people jobs due to the restrictions on crowds and there not being as much work as to prior to the virus outbreak. The YMCA has a special offer that they hope many in the community will take advantage of.
Lassley mentions a way to welcome all members back once they are able to reopen their doors–even those who need assistance in paying. They will have options so they can continue to improve the health of themselves and their family.
Helping the community is the biggest goal at the Salina Family YMCA. Whether its through wellness or offering up a sense of hope and normalcy once the pandemic is over. Lassley and staff want to help take care of the community that has supported them through the tough time period.
**If you know of a small, local business that has been greatly impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, and has figured out a new way to operate, we’d like to feature them on KSAL’s weekly “Small Business Spotlight.” Contact us with business names at [email protected]**