YMCA Calgary > YMCA Calgary Re-opening Strategy

YMCA Calgary Re-opening Strategy

Welcome back to your YMCA!


Here’s a short walk-through video to show you what things will look like when you return to our facilities:




Three steps to access the YMCA

Sign the Waiver
One time, online, at any time
Click here to sign the waiver

Book an Appointment
Required for every visit
Click here to book an appointment

Health Screening
Required for every visit
Click here to book an appointment



Dear YMCA Calgary Community,


We are so excited to have you back! It has been hard being away from the people we care about who make the YMCA Community such a great one.


Over the months we have been closed, lots of planning has happened behind the scenes to ensure that the YMCA meets the highest standard of health and safety. However, you can expect your YMCA will be the same kind, considerate and safe space you have come to know.



Stay with us! Membership Information

We understand that, for many, circumstances have changed because of the pandemic. Here are a number of options to allow members to continue with their YMCA membership.
If you're ready to come back, no action is required. If you have already let us know what you would like to do with your Membership - make sure you received a confirmation email confirming the hold or cancellation.


If you need a bit more time, the following options are available
  • Membership Hold. Place your membership on hold for either 3 months or 6 months.
  • Financial Assistance. If you would like to come back but your financial situation has changed, please fill out the Financial Assistance request form.
  • Membership Cancellation.
  To change your membership please fill out this form Click here





We know many of you have many questions on what to expect once we re-open our doors.


  • Before your first visit: At-a-glance, here’s what you need to do before you visit your YMCA facility again.
  • To download a PDF of the full list of questions and answers (FAQ), please click here
  • To read individual questions, please see below. Expand the question to see the answer by pressing the plus icon

Re-opening FAQs


Safety and Physical Distancing


Q: What health authorities are YMCA Calgary taking guidance from to keep participants safe?

A: YMCA Calgary is actively monitoring and complying with all directives from Alberta Health Services, the Government of Alberta, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and other relevant health authorities.

Q: What measures have you put in place to ensure a safe environment?

A: The health, safety and protection of our members, participants, staff and volunteers is our first priority. For everyone’s protection, we’ve modified some spaces and amenities. Here are just a few of the safety measures you’ll see when you visit the Y:

  • Increased sanitization and disinfection
  • Additional hand-sanitizing stations
  • Removal of non-essential or difficult-to-clean equipment
  • Reduced capacity, by utilizing an appointment-based system for all facility access.
  • Plexi-glass barriers at Welcome, Membership and Weight Floor desks
  • Health screenings prior to entry through a digital health screening tool
  • Directional signage to control the flow of participants in certain areas of the building
  • Contactless scan-in stations
  • Physical distancing measures (including signage, floor markings and some unavailable or rotating equipment) to maintain maximum distance between users
  • Equipment usage time limits
  • Removal of lobby furniture
  • Staff available to assist you

Q: How can I help keep the YMCA safe and clean?

A: Here are some things you can do to help:

  • Stay home if you’re not feeling well
  • Visit Health Canada for evolving information about risk factors (including travel to certain locations) and symptoms
  • Call your local public health department or 811 for direction if you have symptoms or current risk factors apply to you, or if you have questions
  • Wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your face
  • Practice cough and sneeze etiquette
  • Always wipe equipment down before and after use
  • Avoid eating in situations where hand hygiene is more difficult (eg. while working out)
  • Please use cashless forms of payment whenever possible.
  • Cash will still be accepted at YMCA Calgary
  • Be kind to each other

Q: What enhanced cleaning protocols will the Y have in place?

A: We have instituted additional and more frequent cleaning procedures following the guidance of health authorities. These include:

  • Increased frequency of high touch points (eg. door handles, elevator buttons, hand railings, light switches, toilet seats, taps)
  • Regular and documented sanitization of common area touch points
  • Employing hospital-grade disinfectant (Sany+ H202, Oxivir Plus, Vangard)
  • Electrostatic spray and fogger technology as additional steps if an area needs specific attention
  • Disinfection Kits – to support internal cleaning practices, disinfection kits have been developed and made available to staff at all our facilities

Q: What kind of Heating Ventilation, Air Conditioning (HVAC) units and air quality systems does YMCA Calgary use in its facilities?

A: YMCA Calgary facilities use centralized 100% capable outside air HVAC units with 13 MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) filtration. A MERV rating ranges from 3 to 14 with 14 being hospital-standard.

Q: Is pool water a disinfectant?

A: Chlorinated pool water is an effective disinfectant and the risk of transmission from contact with properly treated pool water is considered minimal. YMCA maintains and tests its pool water regularly.

Q: Will I have to undergo a health screening when I enter the facility?

A: All users will be asked to complete a digital COVID-19 health check through a digital Health Screening Tool prior to entering the facility, which will include a short symptom-related questionnaire. This tool is anonymous and data is not collected or stored. It will help you determine if it is safe for you and those in your party to be in the facility. The screening data is secure and won’t be collected or shared in any way – it’s simply a way for you to know if the timing is right to keep you and others safe as you visit the Y. This will be required upon each facility entry. You can access the Health Screening Tool here: www.ymcacalgary.org/screening

Q: Will I have to sign a waiver in order to access the YMCA?

A: To keep you and other safe, and so you have a clear understanding the various risks associating with participating in programs and services, YMCA Calgary is asking you to sign a one-time participation waiver. This is a requirement of entry. You can sign the waiver securely here: www.ymcacalgary.org/waiver It is strongly recommended you complete this waiver process ahead of your visit to save time upon your first re-entry.

Q: Will I have to pre-book an appointment to access the facility, amenities or equipment?

A: To ensure we can adhere to capacity standards at all times, all users, including YMCA members, must pre-book an appointment to access YMCA facilities and to use amenities including the weight floors, the swimming pools and other areas that are available for use. This is a temporary measure to ensure we can maintain required physical distancing and also provide an engaging experience for the many people we serve. Appointments can be booked up to 72 hours in advance. www.ymcacalgary.org/appointments/


Please note:
  • Drop-in fitness classes can be booked as usual using Gigasports https://igniter.gigasports.com/home/login/ymcacal/
  • Your appointment does NOT include the time it takes to change or access the amenity area.
  • You may book a maximum of one appointment per day.*With the exception of Recreational Swim

Q: What durations are the appointments?

A: Weight floor, Lane Swim and Gymnasium (basektball, badminton or pickleball) appointments are 60 minutes. Recreational Swim appointments are 60 minutes. Drop-in fitness classes are 45 minutes and booked using Gigasports

Q: Can I book multiple appointments in one sitting?

A: Currently only one appointment is available per day.

Q: Do I have to wear a mask within the facility or during a workout?

A: For the safety and protection of our community, all persons must wear a face covering in an indoor public premises. The City of Calgary Bylaw 26M2020


Face coverings are not required:


  • When eating or drinking at a public premises, like a restaurant.
  • When you’re doing physical activity, like in a gym or fitness centre.
  • For children under two years of age.
  • People with disabilities or underlying medical conditions that affect their ability to wear a face covering.
  • If you are unable to place, use or remove a face covering safely without assistance.
  • If you are care-giving for or accompanying a person with a disability where wearing a face covering would hinder the accommodation of the person’s disability (for example, ability to lipread).
  • For people who have temporarily removed their face covering where doing so is necessary to provide or receive a service (for example, a visit to the dentist).


Learn more about The City of Calgary Face Covering Bylaw at calgary.ca/covid19
Q: What if I forget my mask? Will you have masks available?

A: We will have a supply of masks available for purchase in vending machines within our YMCA facilities.

Q: What if I see someone who I think looks sick at the Y?

A:Please see any YMCA staff member if you are concerned for the welfare of someone in the facility. Individuals who become symptomatic at the YMCA will be isolated and provided emergency care and transportation.

Q: Are children allowed in your facilities?

A: Child development is core to YMCA Calgary’s mission and so children remain welcome in our facilities. However, usable amenities for children accessing the facility independently may be limited depending on guidance from health authorities.

Q: What can I do with my children?

A: Due to health guidance, children’s activity options are more limited during this time and vary by branch. But we are pleased to be able to provide recreational swimming, badminton, basketball or even just open gymnasium space for you to create your own fun. Please remember to bring any equipment with you and follow all hygiene guidelines. You will have exclusive use of the court/gym space for your household (up to a maximum of six people) for one hour. Recreational swim appointments are 30 minutes in a shared training pool, with limited capacity. (Families can choose to book back-to-back recreational swim appointments, for a total of 60 minutes.) Gymnasium options for each branch can be viewed when booking your appointment. Access is by appointment, and can be booked up to three days in advance at www.ymcacalgary.org/appointments

Q: How will physical distancing be managed in a child minding environment?

A: At this time we will not be offering Child Minding services. Child Minding will resume at a later date once health guidance allows.

Q: Will lounge spaces and public seating be available?

A: In compliance with health guidelines, most indoor lounge and seating spaces at YMCA facilities will be temporarily unavailable.

Q: Will Lost and Found be available?

A: Due to health guidance, lost and found items will be collected but must be disposed of each night. Please only bring what you need for your visit.


Facility Hours and Access


Q: Will there be Fall Programs at YMCA Calgary?

A:YMCA Calgary is taking time to ensure we can offer safe and meaningful programming experiences in the fall. We know the typical programming schedule we usually offer will look different this fall. We are working through different scenarios now and will report back to our membership as soon as we are in a position to announce what shape our program offerings will take. Thank you very much for your patience as we consider guidance from health authorities, lessons learned from our successful re-opening and best practices to keep program participants, staff and volunteers safe and healthy.

Q: Will facility hours of operation be the same?

New Facility Operating Hours

 Location Mon – Fri Sat – Sun
Brookfield Residential & Shane Homes YMCAs 5:30 am – 10:30 pm 7:00 am – 8:30 pm
Shawnessy, Remington, Melcor YMCAs 6:30 am – 8:00 pm 7:00 am – 2:00 pm
Saddletowne YMCA 11:30 am – 8:00 pm 7:00 am – 2:00 pm (Closed Sunday)
Gray Family Eau Claire YMCA 5:30 am – 2:00 pm Closed
South Health Campus YMCA Closed until further notice Closed until further notice


Please note: workout areas and pool close 30 minutes prior to facility closure.
Q: How did you make the decision on what the new temporary facility hours would be?

A: YMCA considered the pre-closure usage patterns based on data and used them, along with available resources, to set the hours. We will expand hours as soon as possible.

Q: Will you have specific hours for seniors-only access?

A: In a recent member survey, we heard from seniors that they value accessing the YMCA when there is a variety of people in the facility as it helps create a stronger sense of community. Many also expressed that they like to have flexibility in the hours they can access the Y. In response, YMCA Calgary will not be creating designated seniors-only hours, but ensuring the highest levels of cleanliness throughout the facility during all operational hours.

Q: Why is South Health Campus YMCA remaining closed?

A: Alberta Health Services has determined that the Wellness Centre (which includes the YMCA) must remain closed until further notice to limit public access to the hospital. South Health Campus Only Members are welcome to use the nearby Brookfield Residential YMCA at Seton up to a maximum of six months until Dec. 31st 2020. No additional action is required to access the nearby Brookfield Residential YMCA.

Q: Will my entire YMCA facility and all amenities be accessible when the YMCA re-opens?

A: We will be opening our centres according to the directives of local public health authorities. Some facility areas and amenities will have a staggered opening. Currently, the following amenities will be closed or unavailable until further notice or until health guidance changes:

  • Climbing walls
  • Steam Rooms
  • Hot Tubs
  • Child Minding
  • Theatres
  • Arenas (Arenas will be available for rentals ONLY at this time. We hope to offer drop-in programs in the fall)
  • Registered Programming
  • Water Slides
  • Flow Rider
  • Youth Rooms
  • Family Centres
  • Multi-purpose Rooms
  • Lobby and Locker Room Lounge Spaces
  • Water fountains closed (bottle fillers permitted where possible)
  • Personal Care Products
  • Towel rentals (towels still available to Membership Extra)
  • Newspapers

Q: Why are you not yet opening the Hot Tubs / Steam Rooms / Water Slides etc – AHS says they are safe to open?

A:Although health guidance has recently been updated, these amenities remain difficult to manage and clean to ensure the safety of participants, particularly young people. Still, existing physical distancing limitations also mean very few participants would be able to benefit from these amenities during their visit. YMCA is developing plans to re-open these amenities once appropriate protocols are in place or distancing limitations have been relaxed by the health authority.

Q: Will you be offering Registered Programs?

A:Fall Registered Programs are now available for registration and will resume starting November 9, 2020.Click here to learn more and view our Fall Program Guide

Q: Will you be offering Personal Training?

A: Personal training will be returning soon! More information will be coming early November.

Q: What group fitness classes will be available?

Registration is open and bookings can be made up to 72 hours in advance. Login using the same username used for drop-in fitness classes. Bookings can be made up to 72 hours in advance. All changes to the group fitness schedule have been made in compliance with provincial health guidelines. MOSSA, Zumba, Synergy and Aquatic Fitness will NOT be offered in initial stages of opening. We look forward to offering these classes again as soon as we are able.

Q: How will swimming lessons work? How do you maintain physical distancing in a pool?

A: We will not be offering swimming lessons or registered aquatics programs in this phase of our re-opening. However, there will be controlled access for lane and recreational swimming.

Q: What can I do in the pools when you re-open?

A: We will be offering both Lane Swim and Recreational Swim.


Lane Swim:
  • Shared use of one 25m swim lane for one hour for ages 8+.
  • Individuals will be assigned a lane upon arrival
  • Swimmers in a lane will be asked to take breaks at opposite ends of the pool.
  • Swimmers will swim in a double-wide lane in a circular motion with 4 swimmers per lane. This is to minimize passing and manage swimmer speeds.
  • No access to Training Pool, other aquatic areas or weight floor. Session ends at appointed time and is not dependent on arrival time. Maximum of one lane swim appointment per day.


Recreational Swim:
  • Shared use of Training Pool for thirty minutes. Each person attending requires an appointment (including children.)
  • No access to Lap Pool, other aquatic areas or weight floor. Session ends at appointed time and is not dependent on arrival time. Maximum of one recreational swim appointment per day.


Test, Mark, Protect (coloured wristband water safety system):
  • YMCA Calgary’s Test, Mark, Protect system will be active for children ages 0-13 upon re-opening.
  • As always, children between the ages 0-7 must stay within arms-reach of a caregiver at all times.
  • All children between the ages of 8 and 13 who have access to water that is shoulder depth or higher (based on their booking) will be asked to complete a swimming skills test to confirm that stay safe in the water.
  • For more info on the details on YMCA Calgary’s Test, Mark, Protect program inquire at your local YMCA facility.


Aquatic Equipment:
  • YMCA will provide access to frequently sanitized lifejackets, flutterboards and aquafit belts. No other pool equipment will be available.
  • All users are required to pre-book an appointment here: www.ymcacalgary.org/appointments

    Appointments can be booked up to three days in advance.

Q: Will I have access to Basketball / Badminton / Pickleball / an open gymnasium?

A: One hour appointments for Basketball, Badminton and Pickleball are available at the Brookfield Residential YMCA at Seton, Shane Homes YMCA at Rocky Ridge, Saddletowne YMCA, Gray Family Eau Claire YMCA, Melcor YMCA at Crowfoot, Remington YMCA in Quarry Park and Shawnessy YMCA. Appointments are for one household (to a maximum of six people) per court (or ½ basketball court), and available during all operating hours.


Equipment (other than the net) is not provided, you must bring any balls or racquets required. The basketball courts may also be booked as a space for children to play / family fun. You are not required to play basketball, and will have half a court for your exclusive family use. Appointments can be booked up to three days in advance at www.ymcacalgary.org/appointments Gymnasium bookings are limited to these three YMCA facilities in order to accommodate fitness classes in this phase of re-opening.

Q: Can I play Squash or Racquetball?

A: Courts are available to book at the Gray Family Eau Claire YMCA, using the existing booking system. Play is single player practice – no more than one person per court will be permitted. No equipment will be provided.

Q: Can I access locker rooms?

A: Locker rooms are available for swimmers. Although locker rooms and lockers are also available for other patrons, we strongly encourage you to come dressed in your workout clothing and, where possible, change and shower at home, as recommended within the current provincial guidelines for indoor recreation.


We will be limiting the number of accessible lockers, washrooms, showers, and change room stalls in order to maintain physical distancing of users in the locker room. We encourage all patrons to leave non-essential items at home.

Q: Will I have access to YMCA towels and equipment?

A:Towels will remain available to Membership Extra members. Users are free to bring their own towels onto the weight floor for use during workouts. Towel rentals will not be available for the time being.


To align with infection prevention measures, the YMCA will not provide equipment such as basketballs, soccer balls, racquets and other small personal equipment. Members and participants may bring their own towel and equipment for personal use only.

Q: Will water fountains be available?

A: Water fountains are not available, however bottle fillers (where possible) are available for personal use. Given the limited quantity of bottle fillers at some of our locations, we encourage all facility users to bring filled water bottles with them.


Q: Am I able to watch my child in your arenas?

A: Limited spectator seating is now available in all our ice arenas, and the Brookfield Residential YMCA Competition Pool. Spectators are limited to one per participant, and are requested to clean the metal bleacher seating before and after use using the disinfectant wipes provided. All spectators must complete the YMCA Health Screening tool prior to accessing the facilities, and must sit or stand on the red dots provided

Membership and Fees


Q: I cancelled my membership and wanted to re-join but the YMCA was closed. Will I have to pay a joining fee?

A: Joining fees will be waived for any member who had an active membership in 2020 for the remainder of the calendar year.

Q: I placed my membership on hold PRIOR to the mid-March YMCA shutdown because of COVID-19. Will that hold automatically remain in place once you re-open?

A: Every membership was automatically placed on hold in mid-March. However, even if you requested a hold prior to our March 15 closure, we still need you to restate your intention to remain on hold for 3 or 6 months. If we don’t hear from you, we will restart your membership on July 20th.

Q: Will drop-in or complementary YMCA passes that expired during the closure still be honoured?

A: Passes that expired during the shutdown period will be honoured until Dec 31, 2020.

Q: How long can I choose to put my membership on hold?

A: In order to provide additional flexibility from our typical 3 month hold option, YMCA Calgary will be offering a 3 or 6 month hold option on any membership. If you’re ready to come back before that, please contact your YMCA location and we will welcome you back at your convenience.

Q: How flexible will YMCA Calgary be on my membership options?

A: We understand that, for many, circumstances have changed because of the pandemic. We will be providing a number of options to allow members to continue with their YMCA membership. We will provide time ahead of our re-opening for you to consider these options, which include:

  • Continue with your membership (no action required; your membership will automatically start when our doors re-open)
  • Membership Hold. Place your membership on hold for either 3 months or 6 months
  • Financial Assistance. If you would like to come back but your financial situation has changed, please fill out the Financial Assistance request form available at YMCA locations
  • Membership Cancellation  
    To change your membership please call, email or visit us in person, for any assistance you need. Visit www.ymcacalgary.org/program-descriptions/locations/ for contact information. .

Q: What does Financial Assistance program look like when YMCAs re-open?

A: Any individuals and/or families that were receiving financial assistance prior to the closure of the YMCA will continue to have that honoured for the remainder of their membership term.


For individuals and families whose financial circumstance have changed in light of the COVID 19 pandemic, they will be able to apply for financial assistance by either providing proof that they have been approved through any of our partner organizations (City of Calgary, AISH, Health Benefits card etc.) or by providing documentation showing they received or qualified for EI benefits as of April 1, 2020. All individuals and families who meet this criteria will be approved for three months and then will need to re-apply to continue their assistance.

Q: What changes can I anticipate with the Membership Extra Membership category?

Q: What changes can I anticipate with the Membership Extra Membership category? A: Extra Membership services will be affected due to directives from health authorities. In Membership Extra Locker rooms throughout the city:

  • Shared personal care amenities will not be available
  • Hot tubs or steams rooms will not be available
  • Access to personal tote boxes and towel service will remain available


At Gray Family Eau Claire YMCA Membership Extra:
  • Access to personal tote boxes and towel service will remain available
  • Laundry service will not be available
  • There will be reduced access to in-locker room work out equipment which will be available through prior appointment only. Appointments can be booked here: www.ymcacalgary.org/appointments Appointments can be booked up to three days in advance.

Q: Will you be reducing membership fees because of a temporary reduction in some services?

As YMCA’s costs to operate have not significantly shifted, most fees will remain the same. We plan to add back services as soon as health guidance allows. YMCA membership fees also help support those who are unable to pay the full amount and we are seeing an increase in subsidy requests in the months since our re-opening. We appreciate your understanding as we work to keep the YMCA safe and accessible.

Q: When will my first payment be withdrawn after opening?

A: YMCA memberships payments will resume July 20, 2020 onward and will maintain your existing billing cycle. There will be a notice period given in case members need to revise their membership status, including extending a hold or accessing financial assistance.

Q: Is the Calgary Flames YMCA Grade 6 Membership still available?

A: Although programming has moved online through a weekly virtual Flames Friday newsletter, this free membership supported by the Calgary Flames Foundation is still available and will be extended to expire Dec 31, 2020 for any children that began their membership after August 1, 2019. Grade 6 Memberships for 2020/2021 school year will be available as of August 1, 2020.

Q: I gave my membership fees as a donation during the closure (Stay With Us Campaign), can I continue to make this donation? When will I receive my tax receipt for this?

A: Your donation will stop once you have chosen to return to the YMCA, however, as a charity you can still continue to give monthly which helps ensure that everyone in our community can be healthy and active. Should you be continuing to place your membership on hold and would like to keep your donation active we would be grateful for your ongoing generosity. Please discuss your donation options with member services staff or email philanthropy@calgary.ymca.ca.


Donations during the closure and while your membership is on hold will be tax receipted to you in a consolidated receipt, which you will receive no later than January 31, 2021.

Q: Can I have a facility tour?

A: Download your FREE pass or self-guided tour card and see all the ways we are keeping you safe. Visit any YMCA Calgary location to go for a swim, run, use the weight floor, the gymnasium, or just say hi!

Click here
*All terms are subject to change due to evolving health and safety guidelines from relevant health authorities