Cheerful signs greet visitors in the parking lot of the Mayerson JCC: “We Are So Happy You’re Here,” “Shalom,” and “Welcome Back!” The Manuel D. & Rhoda Mayerson JCC reopened Monday, June 1, as the state-mandated shutdown for gyms and fitness clubs ended, and in-person group fitness classes resumed on Monday, June 8, 2020. The new normal of the coronavirus era is a little different than before the facility closed in March.

The changes are visible immediately on entry. Plexiglass separates the entry desk from visitors. On arrival, visitors answer questions related to COVID-19 symptoms and have their temperature taken; anyone with a temperature above 100 degrees will not be admitted, nor will anyone in that person’s party. Visitors are asked to wear a mask in the JCC except when swimming or exercising (optional then); all staff have either face masks or clear face shields.

The floors, beginning at the entrance, are marked with arrows and social distancing dots six feet apart - the former to separate lanes of traffic and direct people to the entrances, some of which have changed to different facilities within the building, and the latter to help them space themselves appropriately.

Exercise machines in the fitness center and the use of the aquatics center are available by reservation, which can be made online: an hour in the fitness center, two hours in the outdoor pool, half an hour in the lap pool and fifteen minutes in the hot tub. Only one person is permitted per lane in the lap pool (before the shutdown, each lane accommodated two people) unless they are from the same family. The reservations not only permit control of the number of members in each part of the building but also leave time for cleaning and sanitizing the facilities between reservations.

Cycle machines have been spaced farther apart with the overflow moved into the room next door. In the fitness center, some of the heavy weight machines have been moved into the free weight room, but distancing between exercisers is enforced largely by turning off every other machine.

The JCC Early Childhood School has reopened with thirty-seven students. The students stay in the school wing and in their individual classrooms and do not interact with the rest of the facility.

The hours have been shortened during these initial stage of reopening; currently, the building currently closes two hours earlier than previously on Saturday through Thursday (5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, 8 p.m. on Monday through Thursday).

Although group exercise classes resumed onsite on Monday, June 8 in the Amberley Room, which has been rearranged and marked for social distancing, nevertheless online classes also continue to be available. The JCafé will reopen with a limited carry-out menu on Monday, June 15; the JSpa is scheduled to reopen on the same day. Both Camp at the J, limited to 72 campers, and JPlay/Club J (drop-in daycare) will begin the following Monday, June 22. 

“We’re excited to be back open,” concluded CEO Marc Fisher with a broad smile.

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