How about a respite from politics today? It’s Sunday.  Let’s talk pandemic — that other scourge!

If every Hawaii essential store, hair and nail salon, restaurant, airport and airline observed the meticulous client control and sanitation measures of the Kaimuki YMCA, I think we’ve have a better handle on new infection by the corona virus 19.

The last week of October, the Y got the okay to move to the city’s Tier 2 reopening phase. It decided to do it with baby steps, not one big leap.

First, some new pool-reservation rules to accommodate more people but maintaining the strict safety rules. Then, very gradually, experimenting with indoor fitness programs for individuals and some group exercise classes.

But, the indoor exercise facility allows no more than 25% of its normal capacity, only 4 people are allowed at any time for group exercise classes and the outdoor exercise/pool group exercise classes cannot exceed 9 people.

That means very limited access, keeping many staffers on furlough, and humbug for members who used to be on wait lists for the cardio machines. They can reserve spots for the gym and the pool 2 days in advance if they know how to navigate the computerized system. Not simple for those with limited computer knowledge. But it is keeping Covid out —- so far.

To make up for the in-person limitations, the Y is live streaming some 80+ exercise classes each week.

In person, you can reserve a 90-minute indoor workout or 45 minutes for a pool lane (there are 5 of them.) The 15 minute break is for the lifeguard to use hospital-grade disinfectant spray on everything swimmers touched and their belongings baskets.

Newer baby steps include slotting pool time for older to disabled members who want to just do stationary water exercises and a “family swim” single lane for 2 family members — one using the deep end; the other the shallow end. I use a lane on average 3 times a week.

There’s also the “Virtual Y” via computer for more than 100 on-demand group exercise classes, nutrition workshops, introductory personal training sessions, health and safety classes for active older adults, ukulele practice sessions and book clubs. 

Masks are required at all times, except when in the pool water.

Use of disinfectant spray battles is required for those exercising on the indoor machines.

Pasted arrows show where you can and cannot walk.

It’s a bit like being in a hospital (temperature checks and sickness questions) but you know things are not being handled in the casual way some Honolulu gyms operated before new rules went into effect.

Safety is taking front stage.

That’s good.

Published by Bob Jones

Journalist since age 19. St. Petersburg Times, Noticias y Viajes in Madrid, Overseas Weekly in Frankfurt and Paris, the Louisville Courier- Journal, the Honolulu Advertiser, KGMB-TV, NBC News foreign correspondent in Africa and Southeast Asia, and MidWeek columnist. LL.B LaSalle University Law. 3 years in the U.S. Air Force. Covered: Biafran War in Nigeria (1968) Vietnam War (1969-73), Iraq in 1991. George Foster Peabody Award for distinguished journalism for reporting in China. 2 Emmys for documentaries. Married to journalist Denby Fawcett; one daughter. Brett Jones, foreign service officer, State Department.

4 replies on “Keeping Covid Out; Kaimuki “Y” Slowly Reopens”

  1. Bob, the “Y”‘s safety precautions sound solid.But given the fact that asymptomatic CoVid cases are running as high as 65% and that using those facilities brings people closer together with lots of heavy breathing and sweating in the air, the virtual “Y” seems like a
    safer bet. Me, i’d stick with ocean swimming and outdoor exercise only. Am i too cautious? Maybe. But why gamble with the most important thing i have, my health. I hope you’ll wait ’til next year to spend anymore time there.

    1. The pool is outdoor in full sunshine with one person per lane (5 lanes). Near zero risk. The “gym” is a huge room with ceiling to floor sliding doors on both sides left open for great circulation. Masks are worn. We all carry hospital-grade disinfectant and wipe down machines as we go. Very few users. Risk low. I pick the pool over ocean because I have an arthritic ankle that can’t handle the unsteady underfooting of the sand on entering the water.

  2. Remember the Hawaiian Airlines cluster early in the pandemic? The one where someone who attended the superspreader class then took a couple of exercise classes, and everyone in those exercise classes tested positive?

    That’s why I’m not planning to work out in any gyms yet.

    I realize that the spread might have had more to do with a single, particularly virulent individual more than the setting, but I think the maximized spread suggests even if that were the case, the setting also facilitated transmission.

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