Having had COVID-19 this spring, Beth Anne Wright Melvin knows the importance of feeling safe in a space.

“I was really sick in March and I had a fever for nine days,” she said, explaining that she started to feel better after she had been given medication in early April.

Five months after recovering from the virus, Melvin was one of the first people back at what she considers to be her Y — the Cape Ann YMCA — when the facilities had a soft reopening on Tuesday, July 7.

“When it comes to germs, in my mind I am not nervous about it, so that could be one reason why I immediately came back to the Y,” explained the 23-year member.

“It is good to be back,” the self-described “Y girl” laughed behind her mask.

The Cape Ann YMCA at 127 Middle St. has officially reopened in compliance with Gov. Charlie Baker’s state reopening plan and, while things look a little different, machinery and outdoor workout classes are up and running.

“People are looking to come back and get healthy and socialize, so we feel grateful that people are coming back and that we are filling a need for the community,” said Tim Flaherty, the Cape Ann Y’s executive director.

As Flaherty walked through the Y, following the blue tape that instructed the new flow of traffic, employees ran around wiping and spraying down any surface they passed by.

As sport activities are not running currently, Y Sports Director Mark Mitchell is lending a helping hand wherever one is needed.

“Teamwork, teamwork, teamwork,” he exclaimed as he wiped down a mirror

As the Y staff works to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic, they have created a whole new system based on Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and state guidelines.

Members must reserve a block of time to work out prior to arrival, which can be done up to 24 hours in advance at https://www.northshoreymca.org/schedules/group-fitness-schedule.

Upon arrival, as outlined on the Y’s website, members are asked to stay in their car until their reserved time block begins and wear a face mask into the Welcome Center for check-in.

The pool area and cycling studio are currently closed and group exercise rooms have been transformed into individual workout stations for the time being.

“We aren’t going to do any indoor classes until we are ready to do so,” Flaherty explained.

In the meantime, the Y has been granted access to space by the Sawyer Free Library to host outdoor classes at 7:15 a.m.

“There are lots of options,” Fitness Director Cassie Carlson said. “Now that we are able to be in person there are a lot of options.”

The Y’s gymnasium had been transformed into housing for people experiencing homelessness during the pandemic, but those staying there have since transitioned back to the Action Inc. and the Grace Center buildings as the Y reopens to its members.

“We are trying to be safe and do it right and for everybody’s sake, take our time as we try to expand programming,” Flaherty said.

Reduced hours of operations are currently from 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on weekdays.

Staff writer Taylor Ann Bradford can be reached at 978-675-2705 or tbradford@gloucestertimes.com.

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