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YMCA to start 24-hour service 

The YMCA is bringing 24/7 fitness access to the Hampton Roads community one phase at a time.

This access is a new membership add-on that will allow members to access the fitness center after hours when the staff has left. State-of-the-art security systems will monitor those who check in and out during this time.

“We started this for many reasons,” said Amelia Baker, chief marketing officer for YMCA of South Hampton Roads. “One reason is that it provides the widest range of hours available for people to come. It also spreads out the crowd so not as many people come during the same time. People can come and feel safe.”

Also for safety, only certain amenities will be available after hours. The fitness center and restrooms will be open, but the gym, child care and aquatic centers will remain closed. Members 18 years and older can choose to participate by upgrading their membership for $4.99 for the new technology used to make this happen.

When entering during the new hours, members are responsible for self COVID-19 screenings and checking in and out with their personal key tag. This will help the YMCA monitor who comes while the staff is not there.

The 24/7 access is slowly making its way across Hampton Roads to the YMCAs. The first phase started on Feb. 8 and included the YMCAs on Taylor Bend, in Great Bridge and Hickory, Princess Anne, and Granby. During this first week, the staff has worked overnight to make sure everything runs smoothly.

“We are pleasantly surprised with the response so far,” said Baker. “Even though it’s only been a few days, hundreds have already signed up for this new service.”

According to Baker, the second phase includes the Suffolk YMCA and is hoped to start in early March. There is no timeline yet for the other two phases, including the James L. Camp Jr. Family YMCA in Franklin in the last one.

The rollout is slow to allow enough time to prepare each YMCA facility for this new feature properly.  According to Baker, it is quite the undertaking to switch from being fully staffed to self-regulated. The staff has worked out the process of specifically what needs to be done for safety precautions.

“The community needed this, and I’m happy we could provide it,” said Baker. “It’s definitely a win. The team is thrilled we can continue on this path.”

For more information about the YMCA’s new 24/7 access, visit ymcashr.org/247-fitness-access.