by Guy Page
The Burlington YMCA now requires both snug masking and proof of vaccination for anyone entering its facility.
Masks are optional in the pool and the shower.
The Y announced the vaccine passport requirement late last year. The new vaccine and mask policy takes effect tomorrow, according to a letter to members from Communications Director Doug Bishop.
The decision is driven by the outbreak of the Omicron variant. The letter is printed in its entirety below:
To protect the health and safety of our members and staff, effective Tuesday, January 4, all visitors to the Y will be required to wear a mask. This is a temporary requirement that will be in place until the end of January and evaluated at that time to see if conditions warrant a continuation or lifting of the added precaution.
We now find ourselves in a particularly challenging phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. During a prior difficult time, we banded together as a Y community to wear masks. In doing so again, we intend to keep ourselves, our families, our fellow Y members, Y staff, and our community safer.
This policy shift is driven by a significant jump in COVID cases and the current difficulty of getting a timely COVID test and results, whether that be an at-home antigen test or PCR test. These factors play a role in our decision to make this time-limited rather than open-ended, with, of course, the appropriate responsibility to revisit the policy at month’s end.
Who: All visitors to the Y will be required to wear a mask. This is in addition to, and not an alternate option to, our requirement that visitors show proof of vaccination.
What: We require a properly fitting mask — one that snuggly and completely covers the nose and mouth, minimizing any gaps. Buffs and bandanas do not qualify.
When/Where: Other than when in the pool or the shower, masks will always be required. There will be no other exceptions. Due to health concerns associated with wearing masks in the sauna environment, the sauna will be closed while a mask requirement is in place. The present intent is for this mandate to run through January 31. We will reevaluate this policy at that time.
We recognize that mask wearing does not make for the ideal workout experience. Like all of us, as an organization, the Y is doing its best to strike a balance that best serves the broadest swath of our membership and the health needs of staff, members, and the community. We feel that this policy best serves our intention to act in a caring, honest, responsible, and respectful manner in alignment with our core values.