The Mandel Jewish Community Center in Beachwood is making the wearing of face masks mandatory, with a few exceptions, effective Nov. 30, due to the increase in COVID-19 cases in Cuyahoga County.

All members and staff must wear face masks at all times while at The J, including during all forms of exercise and physical activity, with the only exceptions being while swimming or showering, and for those who have been medically advised not to wear a face mask, according to a news release.

“Today more than ever before, the health and wellness of our members, staff and the community remain our top priority,” said Michael Hyman, president and CEO of the Mandel JCC, in the release. “This policy offers another layer of protection to combat the spread of the virus. It supports our commitment to keeping our members, staff and community as safe as possible. Our current operations and policies go above and beyond recommended safety guidelines. With our current health and safety policies and practices, the Mandel JCC is one of the safest fitness facilities in our community. We will continue to evaluate our protocols on an ongoing basis and make any adjustments to meet changing needs.”

Since early July, everyone entering The J was required to wear a face mask, except while exercising and swimming.

In an effort to provide additional protection for its members and staff, and to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, a decision was made to further expand the policy to include wearing masks during all forms of exercise, according to the release. The JCC adheres to strict health, safety and sanitization protocols, exceeding recommended state and national guidelines, according to the release.

“The J is dedicated to building a strong community while promoting the physical and mental wellness of our members” said Joe Schillero, general manager of fitness and membership at The J, in the release. “It is important that the Mandel JCC continues to support the wellness needs of our members and the community during these challenging times. We know from our own experience, and from research done throughout the country, that fitness centers are not the source of the spread of the virus. Incidence of the spread in fitness centers is a small fraction of a percent. We are committed to being the safe place in our community that offers vital fitness support to our members so that they can improve their health and well-being.”

The JCC’s safety protocols include: requiring face masks in its facility at all times; requiring members to schedule appointments to visit The J, which limits the number of members in the fitness and aquatics areas per hour; administering temperature and wellness checks upon entry; providing adequate spacing between fitness stations to accommodate social distancing practices; managing the direction of traffic patterns in the building; and following cleaning and daily sanitation procedures that exceed those recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.

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