First Coast YMCA helps people keep safe and healthy despite COVID-19 surge

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Ringing in a new year often means setting new fitness goals to get in shape, but that can be difficult especially as COVID cases are spiking around the country.

Action News Jax Alicia Tarancon spent the morning at the Winston Family YMCA in Riverside, which is using its COVID-19 protocols to protect people, especially vulnerable populations.

Marilyn Wilkerson has been a member with the First Coast YMCA for 15 years.

“I come 6 days a week. 4 days a week I come in the mornings and evenings,” Wilkerson said.

And this 85-year-old isn’t showing any signs of slowing down.

“I’m a widow. I don’t have my husband to dance with, so I come here, and I dance.” she said.

The First Coast YMCA said this month it added more than 1,000 new members hoping to get in better shape.

“My New Year’s resolution is to lose this gut, I don’t need it,” laughed Roger Morris.

Morris just joined the Winston Family YMCA in Riverside.

Despite a surge in omicron cases across the county, the 73-year-old said he’s not concerned.

“Now as long as you mask up, stay your distance, and wipe down and when you finish your machine, your exercise machine obeys the rules,” Morris said.

Evelyn Lewis and her husband James are in their 90s and. They said staying active even during a pandemic helps them feel better and healthier too.

“Prayer, the right foods, the right foods and exercise, and good friends,” Evelyn F. Lewis said.

“I mean if you can’t do physical work, you can always just walk a little,” James Lewis said.

For lot people, staying healthy and fit during the pandemic has been challenging.

The First Coast YMCA has put in number of safety protocols that it has maintained since the height of the pandemic.

For example, employees are still required to wear a mask, there’s sanitizing stations, and there’s also a limit on the number of people in group classes to help practice social distancing.

“In between classes, 15 minutes, they go in, clean the balls, clean the weights, clean the floor so I feel very comfortable cause I’m really finicky about this disease.” Wilkerson said.

For more information about the First Coast YMCA and the programs it offers, you can click HERE.