By Lee Chottiner
Following Gov. Andy Beshear’s plan for a phased loosening of closures around the state, the JCC reopened its Health & Wellness Center on June 1.
It will mark the first phase in the reopening of the Dutchmans Lane facility, which has been closed to the public since March 13.
“Health & Wellness is our first opportunity to open our doors, and it makes the most sense,” said Sara Klein Wagner, president & CEO of the Jewish Community of Louisville. “People have been cooped up in their houses. Using Health & Wellness to keep a healthy mind, body and soul is what we’re here to provide.”
The JCC also reopened its outdoor lap pool for lap swimming only, “pending guidance from our state government and the Jefferson County Board of Health,” Aquatics Director Johnny Kimberlin said. The family and indoor pools remain closed.
Health & Wellness is part of a gradual reopening process in Jewish Louisville. The Nearly New Shop, run by the National Council of Jewish Women, reopened with new store hours and policies on Friday, May 22 (shopnearlynew.org). Anshei Sfard is reopening this week and Chabad of Kentucky will resume services in late June.
Once Health & Wellness reopens, it will operate differently, reflecting the new reality of life during the coronavirus pandemic.
Plans were made for operating in the new environment, according to its director, Susan Kwasny. The center, which is following CDC guidelines and those from the governor, has instituted several changes to the way it is run.
Among the changes:
Exercise machines will be made available, with appropriate spacing to ensure proper social distancing.
Group fitness classes will be limited to nine per class, plus the instructor.
Group fitness class signups will be done at the Health & Wellness desk.
The center will close every day from 1 to 2 p.m. to sanitize the facility.
No group sports, including racquetball, pickleball and pickup basketball, will be played.
The capacity for each exercise room will differ and staff will monitor them for compliance.
“We are training all our desk staff, floor staff and all our fitness instructors,” Kwasny said.
She also said her staff is implementing a process to thoroughly sanitize and conduct more deep cleanings throughout the day.
“We’re hoping people will be understanding of our safety guidelines,” Kwasny said. “We know that things will be different, that the center will be different, just as the world is different today.”
She said the staff is looking for guidance from the governor, and will make further decisions based on what he suggests.
Forty-five part-time desk and fitness staff have returned to work.
While the reopening is being done in phases, Kwasny doesn’t know yet how long this first phase will last. She did say class sizes will likely increase under phase II and the new cleaning protocols will stay in place.
But she said the Health & Wellness can be run safely.
“We feel confident that we can put these draft guidelines into effect,” she said, “to minimize any safety risks.