The Blair Family YMCA closed its doors March 17 amid coronavirus concerns.
Nearly two months later, the facility doesn't have a “concrete date of opening,” according to a recent update on its website.
CEO Brandon Palmer, who started in his position just eight days before the closure, said Tuesday during a phone interview that the YMCA's priority is the safety of its community and its members.
“Our ultimate goal is to continue to be socially responsible, adhere to the DHHS (Department of Health and Human Services) guidelines and follow local city/government recommendations regarding COVID-19,” the website update, posted by Palmer, read.
The CEO said YMCA facilities are holding off reopening at the moment because of changing information, which is reflected in operating guidelines. If they were open Tuesday, for instance, the DHHS guidelines would have called for 10 people per room at any given time. That, Palmer said, could very well change with new information and the YMCA would prefer to reopen in more certain times.
Since its closure, Blair's Y has placed members on monthly $10 holds. “The majority” of members have remained on board since, Palmer said.
When it does reopen, the YMCA's facilities, programs and events will return in phases.
“They won't come back all at the same time,” Palmer said.
There will be stages to the Blair reopening just as Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts has begun reopening aspects of the state. For example, the YMCA building will reopen, but summer camp may not with it. Fitness classes and noon-hour basketball aren't as likely to come back right away, though pickleball time may due to the social distancing aspects of the sport.
Ultimately, though, Palmer said the Blair Family YMCA is focused on step No. 1 first — opening its doors.
“Thank you for sticking with us! Since our doors closed March 17, we have been working behind the scenes to prepare for the day that we could once again serve you and our community,” the Y's website read Tuesday. “As we navigate the COVID-19 crisis together, please know that we are continually working to put plans in place to reopen our doors. Without you, our loyal members, we would not be where we are today!”
Palmer's post — which can been read in full on blairymca.org — closed with assurance that the YMCA was working toward an opening date.
“I am fully aware that this is not the perfect answer to the many questions you may have as a member, but I ask that you continue to support the Blair Family YMCA and know that we are fully engaged in finding the 'right' time to reopen,” it said.
Members are encouraged to reach out to the YMCA with any questions. The phone number is 402-533-9622.