The YMCA of Southern Maine announced Sunday that it will be shutting down its branches in Portland, Biddeford, Freeport and New Gloucester out of concerns over the coronavirus.

The unprecedented closures will impact hundreds of fitness enthusiasts, who rely on their neighborhood YMCAs for their daily or weekly workouts.

Effective Monday, the Greater Portland Branch in Portland, the Northern York County Branch in Biddeford, the Casco Bay Branch in Freeport and the Pineland Branch in New Gloucester will close and won’t reopen until at least March 29.

“These are unprecedented times,” Helen L. Brena, president and CEO of the YMCA of Southern Maine, wrote in a letter to members. “The situation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic is rapidly evolving. Schools, businesses, libraries and more are closing their doors in order to flatten the curve and combat the spread of COVID-19.”

“Today, we have decided that the larger societal benefit lies in temporarily closing all YMCA of Southern Maine branches for a two-week period in order to help fight COVID-19,” Brena said.

In two weeks, Brena said, the YMCA will re-evaluate whether the closures should be extended beyond March 29.

“Please know that our decision to close was not made lightly. It is one we made with heavy hearts and a firm commitment to the greater good of our community,” Brena said.

In addition to the southern Maine YMCAs, the Waldo County YMCA in Belfast also announced on Sunday that it would close its facility for two weeks beginning Monday. The Bangor Region YMCA said Sunday that it will close its fitness and aquatic centers effective Tuesday for a period of two weeks.

The Central Lincoln County YMCA in Damariscotta will shut down for two weeks, effective Tuesday. The Boothbay Region YMCA in a post on its Facebook Page Sunday said its management team was meeting Monday to determine a plan for moving foward in light of the pandemic.

One of the largest YMCAs in the state, the Bath Area Family YMCA in Bath, had not posted any new updates on its website or social media sites Sunday and will remain open for the time being.


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