FAQs & Things to Know! How the Y Is Safely Operating After June 15, 2021

Updated: July 20, 2021

With California reopening on June 15, we want to keep our Y community informed about updates to our guidelines and procedures. The information below is based on guidance from a variety of sources and will be updated as new information is available from state, local and government agencies. We are excited to progressively return to normalized operations in accordance with these new state and local guidelines.

As always, we are committed to the health and safety of our members, staff and participants. Below are some answers to our most frequently asked questions about our safe reopening.


Do I have to wear a mask?

Face coverings will no longer be required for individuals both indoors and outdoors who are fully vaccinated. Non-fully vaccinated individuals will be required to wear a face covering indoors. No proof of vaccination will be required.

What is fully vaccinated?

  • Received a vaccine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
  • Two weeks have passed since the final dose of the vaccine was administered. 

What about youth/children and face coverings?

  • When on the wellness floor or participating in fitness activities, children who are 12 and up who are fully vaccinated do not have to wear face coverings indoors or outdoors. Non-fully vaccinated youth ages 2 and up will be required to wear a face covering indoors, but are not required to wear one outdoors.
  • When participating in YMCA youth programs, children ages 2 and up are required to wear a mask indoors, regardless of vaccination status. Masks are not required outdoors.
  • View our Youth Programming FAQs for more information about our health and safety protocols for children attending YMCA youth programs.

Our YMCA staff will be required to wear face coverings to ensure the safety of our community.

Will I still have to check in and out?

Member check-in will be simple. Just scan your member ID at the welcome center upon arrival. You will not be asked to check out since capacity restrictions are lifted.

Will there still be health screenings?

No. Temperature checks will no longer be required. Outside health stations will be removed. 

Will social distancing still be required?

Social distancing will no longer be required for individuals both indoors and outdoors who are fully vaccinated. Non-fully vaccinated members are not required to social distance while wearing masks. Outdoors, non-fully vaccinated individuals should social distance and wear a face covering when this is not possible. 

Will cash be accepted again?

No. We will continue to accept digital currency only.

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What cleaning protocols will remain in place?

Safety remains our top priority, and we will continue to maintain the ongoing cleaning and sanitizing of our facilities.

What will be returning to the general/lobby areas?

Adult and youth social areas will be available to enjoy again.

What is changing with locker rooms?

Locker room access will return to normal without limits on social distancing or capacity. Amenities like hair dryers will also be available.

Will branch hours be expanded?

We will continue to evaluate operating hours at our facilities and will adjust accordingly.

Do you plan to open additional locations?

At this time, we do not have plans to expand locations. We continue to explore opportunities to serve more in our community.

Will water fountains be available for use?

Yes. Water fountains will be reopened and available for use.

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What changes will occur to the fitness center?

All health and wellness equipment will be returned to the same distances apart as they were prior to COVID-19.

How should I disinfect equipment after use?

Paper towel dispensers and cleaning spray will return to our fitness centers to be utilized for regular cleaning by members. Microfiber towels will be available upon request but are not required.

Will there still be outdoor fitness?

At some locations, yes! Many branches will return primarily to indoor fitness due to the wear and tear on equipment from exposure to weather. For information on the availability of outdoor fitness, please contact your branch. 

What changes will occur in group exercise offerings?

Most classes will return indoors without social distancing and limited capacity. Some branches will continue to offer classes outdoors.

Will you add group exercise classes?

We continue to evaluate our group exercise class schedule and will explore adding classes in the coming months.

Are there group exercise classes available for children?

We offer family-friendly classes for ages 10 and up!

These classes are a fun way for families to exercise while spending time together. When viewing the group exercise finder, select your branch and "10+" in the age filter to view our available options.

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Will reservations be required for pool access?

No. Reservations will no longer be required for lap swim, recreation/family swim or splash pad areas. 

Where can I find the pool schedule?

Look for the pool schedule (PDF) linked to your branch's homepage. If you don't see it posted, please check back soon.

Can I reserve a lap swim lane if I want to?

Yes, lap swim reservations are available for $10 per lane, per reservation to ensure there is a lap lane available for you to use. Click here to learn more or to make a lap lane reservation.

Will saunas/spas be available?

Please check with your branch to find out if these amenities are currently available.

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Will Child Watch/Kids Club return to the pre-COVID program?

State and local guidelines have not yet been updated for youth programming, so Child Watch will remain a fee-based program at this time. Face coverings will continue to be required for youth over the age of 2 in Child Watch and COVID-19 protocols will remain in place.

Why is there an extra fee?

Space in the program is extremely limited due to the current COVID-19 guidelines and a nominal fee helps ensure that spots will be utilized. The fee also helps offset the additional cleaning supplies and staff time needed to follow the enhanced cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting guidelines.

When will children under two years of age be able to attend Child Watch again?

It is difficult to ensure any type of social distancing between staff and child when caring for youth under the age of two. Also, infants and toddlers require a different staff-to-child ratio and physical space to care for them safely and effectively. It has proven very tricky to effectively plan how to care for these youth while following COVID-19 guidelines in a Child Watch setting. We want to see your little ones back in the program just as much as you do! We are currently assessing the feasibility of expanding the program to these ages, and will continue to do so as the COVID-19 guidelines evolve.

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What impact does the state reopening have on youth programs such as Camp, Gymnastics and Preschool?

Current health and safety protocols will remain in place except for the following:

  • Social distancing will not be required for youth in small, stable groups. Social distancing between groups will still be in effect.

Does my child still need to wear a mask?

Yes, children ages 2 and up who are participating in YMCA youth programs are still required to wear a mask when indoors, regardless of vaccination status. Masks are not required outdoors. View our program specific policies for more details:

Wasn't the guidance lifted on June 15?

The tier system was lifted, however, the sector guidance for youth programs is separate from the tiers and is still in effect. This guidance applies to YMCA youth programs such as summer camp, preschool, licensed childcare, skate parks, gymnastics, dance, youth sports, adventure guides and child watch.

Why is guidance different for fully-vaccinated-youth over 12 when in a Y program versus on the wellness floor?

YMCA programs are classified as operating in a youth setting, while our wellness areas are classified under a fitness area. Under the guidelines, even when fully vaccinated, youth 12 and older must wear masks indoors during YMCA programs, but are not required to wear a mask while working out on the wellness floor. We understand this may cause confusion and are hoping for updated guidance on this group as well. 

Why isn't the guidance lifted for youth yet?

Our understanding is that it is still in effect because youth under the age of 12 are not eligible for vaccines and, therefore, are not yet vaccinated.

When do you expect youth guidance to be lifted?

There hasn’t been any indication of when. We believe that guidance will still be in effect until all youth can be vaccinated. We will continue to keep you updated as new information becomes available.

What about the new school year? Will masks still be required indoors for children in YMCA preschools and licensed childcare?

We do not know what the public health guidance will be yet for the upcoming school year. As we are partners with many school districts, we will operate our licensed programs under the school guidance for consistency. As soon as additional information is available, we will share this promptly. 

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