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Suffolk Family YMCA offering outdoor classes

The Suffolk Family YMCA has resumed offering classes, but only outdoors, as allowed with Gov. Ralph Northam’s Phase I reopening.

Outdoor fitness classes began this week, and members can sign up on the YMCA website. The YMCA had been offering live, virtual classes and events along with an on-demand activities library. Each outdoor class will be limited to nine people.

It has also partnered with the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore for community food drives and opened its childcare to children of essential workers.

“We want to be sure the approach we’re taking to reopen our centers is thoughtful, and that we’re creating an environment that’s safe for everyone,” said Anthony Walters, president and chief executive officer of the YMCA of South Hampton Roads in a letter posted to its website.

He said the YMCA is taking a phased approach to reopening, only doing so when state and local governments allow it, when it is prepared with proper safety measures and when it is confident it can keep its staff and members across southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina safe.

It will also be operating Camp Hope Child Care beginning Tuesday, with children of all working parents eligible to register for the program. The program will run from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. weekdays. However, it will not have drop-in care services for now.

While participation in fitness activities — and swimming at the Princess Anne and Great Bridge/Hickory Family YMCA centers — is open to active members, it is not open to guests and nationwide members yet.

To participate in the Y’s outdoor fitness programs, all members will have their temperature taken prior to check-in, and staff will receive daily temperature checks. Outdoor fitness class participants will space 10 feet apart, and capacities for fitness classes will be limited.

Those who want to reserve an outdoor fitness class will need to create a new account on the Y’s reservation system. Members can reserve class spots up to seven days in advance.

Though masks are not required, the Y is encouraging people to wear them whenever possible.

While closed, the YMCA has offered, and will continue to offer, virtual classes and its on-demand library of activities.

“We want to continue to bring you the service and support you need,” Walters said, “even if it may look a little different than it has in the past.”