YMCA pleads with some problem members to stop disrespecting staff

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WATCH: A Calgary organization is reminding its members to be kind as the pandemic drags on. An email sent to thousands of its members points to an increase in resistance to the rules. Jill Croteau reports – Nov 11, 2020

A memo to Calgary’s YMCA participants came as a bit of a shock for some members. Thousands of them received the email Tuesday, capturing the impact of COVID-19 fatigue.

President and CEO of YMCA Calgary, Shannon Doram, said the organization is taking its responsibility to support the well-being of Calgarians very seriously.

“In the past few weeks we have seen a deterioration in the resolve of some participants to follow the safety protocols in place,” Doram said. “More troubling, our staff and volunteers are experiencing member and participant behaviour that has made them feel disrespected and unsafe.”

“We recognize this trend does not reflect all users and we’d like to thank the many facility-goers who have been respectful and thoughtful towards the well-being of others.”

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The Brookfield Residential YMCA at Seton. Global News

Quincey Frick is a member of the Brookfield Residential YMCA at Seton and said she was caught off guard by the letter.

“I’m surprised. I have not noticed anything. Everybody seems to be following protocols and distancing and wearing masks in the areas we need to be,” Frick said.

Stephanie and Edgar Reyes frequent the facility and said they haven’t noticed this problem.

“I find people are respectful and people take time to clean up their equipment and staff is doing well, I’ve seen no confrontation,” Stephanie said.

Read more: Can’t wear a mask? Why demands for medical proof have experts worried

Roland Gervais volunteers at some YMCA locations and continually reminds members about health protocols.

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“We are trying hard. We have to make sure members are doing that and do health screening every day and make sure they have an appointment,” Gervais said.

The YMCA’s recent review of gymnasium usage has led to the suspension of basketball for a minimum of 10 days. Doram said they made the decision because controls and restrictions weren’t being respected.

Read more: Calgary Zoo, YMCA announce layoffs amid COVID-19 pandemic

Member Kyle Remenda said that’s inappropriate.

“I think if you’re going to use a facility you have to respect people that are letting us do this,” Remenda said.

Some other businesses across the province admit their staff are burdened with the responsibility of enforcing health protocols. But according to the Retail Council of Canada (RCC), employees are doing what they can to keep people safe. John Graham, Director of Government Relations for RCC, said they need to play a part.

“No doubt employees are stressed,” Graham said. “But the feeling is every retailer has a role to play through reminders and signage refreshing around policies or directives.”

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