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YMCAs across Meriden area close indefinitely in response to coronavirus

YMCAs across Meriden area close indefinitely in response to coronavirus

All YMCA locations in the greater Meriden area will be closed indefinitely as officials seek to slow down the spread of the coronavirus.

The closures of the YMCA branches in Meriden, Wallingford, Cheshire and Southington were made Monday in compliance with Gov. Ned Lamont’s executive orders restricting the operations of restaurants, bars, movie theaters and gyms.

John Benigni, CEO of the Meriden-New Britain-Berlin YMCA, said his organization was contemplating a possible closing at the end of last week in response to a decline in members using the facility since the outbreak.

The closures include child care programs, with the exception of the Wallingford YMCA, which said its TLC early child center would remain open.

“Unfortunately due to this unprecedented situation we are also closing our child care programs based on the latest White House, CDC, state and local guidelines,” the Meriden-New Britain-Berlin Y said in an announcement. “We will communicate any updates via email, notices on our web site, and social media.”

Instructors will record activities and workouts members can do at home and post them on the Y’s website for the duration of the closure.

“We’ll be filming those drills so the kids can actually see our sport director or their gymnastics coach … it's our way to try to stay in contact with the families we serve,” Benigni said.

The closures include the Meriden YMCA branch at 110 W. Main Street, New Britain YMCA at 50 High St., and CrossFit Meriden at 74 Cambridge St., according to a message sent to members.

The Southington-Cheshire Community YMCAs announced similar closures and program cancellations at its facilities, including its gymnastic, sports performance and learning centers. Only Camp Sloper, at 1000 East St., Southington, would remain open “for hiking and other wellness activities,” a notification said.

Meanwhile, the camp’s playground, basketball courts and ninja course “will be closed per the recommendations of the state and local health departments,” the notification said. 

“If you intend to visit the YMCA Camp Sloper Outdoor Center, please practice social distancing, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer and be respectful of the other members using the property,” the notification said.

Benigni said it’s especially important that children and families who are working or studying from home remain active.

“I think at this point we all need to not only have activities and different way of performing those activities, but our minds need to stay active too,” he said.

Staff will be available to answer questions by phone at (203) 235-6386 in Meriden, (860) 229-3787 in New Britain, and at (860) 357-2717 in Berlin.

dleithyessian@record-journal.com203-317-2317Twitter: @leith_yessian