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Laurens, Clinton YMCAs closed for now

The YMCA locations in Laurens and Greenwood and Laurens counties closed their doors Friday due to the threat of COVID-19.

The YMCA’s in Laurens, Gray Court and Greenwood and operate under the Lakelands Region YMCA of South Carolina. Clinton’s YMCA operates independently.

“Trust me, the decision to close our facilities was not an easy choice, but we know it was the right choice under these extraordinary circumstances,” Lakelands YMCA CEO Brian Harlan wrote in an announcement to members. “The health and well-being of our Y members, our Y staff and the communities we serve shall always come first. We will continue to monitor this ever-changing situation.”

Harlan said the Lakelands YMCAs could reopen on Monday, April 6.

Clinton YMCA CEO Gene Simmons said in a statement that leadership will re-evaluate on April 1.

“The YMCA desires to do our best to support our local healthcare to help flatten the curve of exposure of COVID-19,” Simmons wrote. “We have been diligent in our communication with other YMCA’s across the state as well as nation and are following the examples of our schools, and the advice of health and public officials to ensure we’re planning the appropriate course of action.”

Harlan announced the closing of the Lakelands locations days after schedule adjustments to allow for additional cleaning in an effort to keep members and staff safe from COVID-19.

Despite the closures, the facilities in Laurens and Greenwood will be used as childcare centers for the children of essential service providers such as doctors, nurses, technicians, first responders and grocery store employees.

“In Greenwood, we will continue providing instruction and care for the students in our High Hopes program at the John Lamb Center,” Harlan announced. “In Laurens, our Child Development Center at First Baptist Church will serve the infant-4k students.”

Both CEOs asked for members to remain patient as the YMCAs work through the coronavirus crisis.

“We understand these are very uncertain times. The YMCA staff are standing by to see how we can be most helpful and supportive to our community during this time of uncertainty,” Simmons wrote. “Just as we have been here to serve our community during other times of crisis, the YMCA and its staff will be here to serve in whatever capacity we are needed. Your YMCA remains a community benefit non-profit and we need you to stand strong with us to be part of the solution for us all. When this unexpected wave of challenging circumstances passes by, we hope you will still be with us to respond to our community in ways only the YMCA family can accomplish.”

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