A statement from Kyle Stewart, Executive Director of the Alliance of New York State YMCAs

At the Alliance of New York State YMCAs, we were glad to see Governor Cuomo ease capacity restrictions for some nonprofit organizations like Museums and Zoos. Like YMCAs, these community organizations have struggled to survive the pandemic shutdown and deserve an opportunity to prove that they can operate safely. YMCAs continue to ask the Governor’s office for the same opportunity to serve the community.

After 7 months of serving our communities, YMCAs have welcomed more than 3 million visitors to our health and wellness facilities. Thanks to our stringent safety protocols, the Y has had zero COVID cases originate at the Y.

New York’s communities are currently standing on the precipice of the next major health crisis as we recover from COVID. Obesity, mental health, and numerous comorbidities are already worsening. But the Y continues to stand ready to help our communities reclaim their physical, mental, and emotional health.

This is why it is puzzling that the Governor would prioritize allowing more people into entertainment venues for the NBA playoffs, before he allows health and wellness facilities to serve more families, seniors, and youth.

I love basketball, and the idea that the Knicks could be relevant in the playoffs is phenomenal for New York. But continuing to restrict YMCAs to 33% capacity is not only hampering the delivery of community programs and services, it is also endangering our ability to help heal the spirit, mind, and body of New Yorkers.

I urge the Governor’s office, and the Department of Health to follow the data and make the decision to raise the capacity limits on New York’s YMCAs.

Kyle Stewart
Executive Director
Alliance of New York State YMCAs