YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids closes all branches; other COVID-19 updates

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The YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids was founded in 1866 and operates eight branches and year-round camping facilities at Camp Manitou-Lin. Courtesy YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids

In light of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive order Monday requiring temporary closures of many public places due to the COVID-19 outbreak, YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids has closed all of its branches.

The closure took effect at 3 p.m. Monday, March 16, and is in effect “until further notice.”

“We will monitor this fluid situation closely,” the organization said in a statement.

“All programs in our facilities have been canceled, including any off-site programming planned during this time. We will offer our members continued health and wellness programs online, and we will have family/child engagement activities for our parents on our website. All planned program participants who have paid for services will be issued credits, to be used at a later date.”

Scott Lewis, president and CEO of YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids, said the nonprofit received permission from the state to continue to distribute food and provide child care for families.

“We will also be able to provide emergency child care to support families who work in emergency services — EMT, fire, police and medical personnel,” Lewis said.

“Regardless of COVID-19, there are children and families we are serving, parents and hospital workers who need our child care. We are grateful for our staff who are working under difficult circumstances, and for all of those who choose to continue to support the Y through the donation of membership fees and other means as we strive to provide this vital community benefit.”

The closure was part of Whitmer’s executive order, effective 3 p.m. Monday, March 16, which mandated closure of the following places of public accommodation: restaurants, cafés, coffee houses, bars, taverns, brewpubs, distilleries, clubs, movie theaters, indoor and outdoor performance venues, gymnasiums, fitness centers, recreation centers, indoor sports facilities, indoor exercise facilities, exercise studios, spas and casinos, until 11:59 p.m. Monday, March 30.

“This disease is a challenge unlike any we’ve experienced in our lifetimes,” Whitmer said. “Fighting it will cause significant but temporary changes to our daily lives. By practicing social distancing and taking aggressive action now, the state is working to mitigate the spread of coronavirus, so we reduce the risk that our health care system becomes overwhelmed. This is about saving lives. Michiganders are tough, and we are going to get through this, but it will require everyone doing their part. That means making smart choices and not putting yourself or others at risk by going out in public unless it is absolutely necessary.”

The restrictions do not at this time apply to the following locations: office buildings; grocery stores; markets; food pantries; pharmacies; drug stores and providers of medical equipment and supplies; health care facilities; residential care facilities; congregate care facilities and juvenile justice facilities; warehouse and distribution centers; and industrial and manufacturing facilities.

Information around the outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at michigan.gov/coronavirus and cdc.gov/coronavirus.

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