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YMCA closes, plans to use resources for 'those who need us most' during pandemic

It plans to help families of "essential" workers during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The YMCA has shut down all of its clubs through March 30 and plans to be a resource for parents who cannot stop working due to the importance of their jobs during the coronavirus pandemic. 

"Today we must focus our resources on those who need us most during this unprecedented time," wrote Glen Gunderson, president of CEO of YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities. 

Gunderson said the decision to shut down all fitness, health and wellbeing centers, along with the closure of pools and camps, was made to help "serve parents who must work including health care workers, first responders and 'essential' employees protecting our community."

"These families need safe and reliable places for their children and we will be there for them," said Gunderson. 

The decision follows the Centers of Disease Control & Prevention "strongly" recommending Americans avoid any gatherings of 50+ people to help curb the spread of the coronavirus outbreak. 

The YMCA is continuing these services: 

  • Before and after-school programming that the Y provides in your school district.
  • Early Childhood Learning Centers remain open for enrollees. 
  • Support for young adults in the Youth Intervention Services and University YMCA programs.

Memberships can be put on hold

In addition, the YMCA will allow members to put their membership fees on hold during the closure, although anyone who pays regularly will help the YMCA "maintain vital life-changing and life-saving programs," the release said. 

"If you prefer to put your membership on hold, please contact us and we will do that for you, but we invite you to join us in service to others needing our help," said Gunderson. 

Other fitness centers in Minnesota are still open, including LA Fitness, Planet Fitness, Lifetime Fitness, Anytime Fitness and Orangetheory Fitness. All of the clubs that remain open have instituted precautionary measures and recommendations for proper hygiene. 

Another closure that will impact residents of St. Paul is that of all St. Paul Public Libraries, which will be shuttered March 16-27. 

As of data released Sunday, there were 35 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota, although the department of health suspects there are "many more" unconfirmed cases due to the fact that there are three examples of community transmission of the disease. 

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