Face Covering Frequently Asked Questions

Effective Wednesday, November 25 at 5:00pm, face coverings will be mandatory at all times inside the Y. This change is in response to the latest Executive Order from Governor Roy Cooper.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are you making this change?

The governor mandated mandatory face covering with Executive Order #180. The YMCA of Northwest North Carolina is making this change to align with this order, which includes a mandate that face coverings are required indoors at all times, even when physical distancing is in place and while members are working out. The Y is committed to ensuring public health and safety and helping to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our neighborhoods and communities.

What is a cloth face covering?

According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, a cloth face covering is a material that covers the nose and mouth. It can be secured to the head with ties or straps or simply wrapped around the lower face. It can be made of a variety of materials and can be factory-made or sewn by hand or can be improvised from household materials, such as scarfs, t-shirts, sweatshirts or towels.

Does a face shield count as a face covering?

The governor’s latest mask order is for a cloth face covering that covers the nose and mouth and, based on CDC recommendations, face shields are not considered the same.

Do I have to wear a face covering at all times while I’m working out at a YMCA of Northwest North Carolina branch?

Yes. In an effort to prioritize the health of our members, staff, and the community — and to comply with the latest executive order — we are moving to a mandatory all face covering policy while participating in indoor fitness. This includes, group fitness classes, weightlifting, racquetball, while on the pool deck before you get into the pool, in the locker rooms, etc.

I don’t want to wear a face covering while I’m working out strenuously.

We fully respect your perspective on face coverings. However, in light of the governor’s order and our commitment to the health of each other and our communities, and our strong determination to stay fully open and in service, we are moving in this direction. If you’d prefer you can access our virtual wellness/fitness programing through our website at home. However, like other businesses with similar practices in place, you must fully comply with our policy to participate in indoor fitness/wellness.

I have a medical exemption that allows me to not wear a mask.

Thank you for letting us know. Those with medical exemptions do not have to wear a face covering as allowed by the requirements of gyms and indoor facilities per the governor. Please see the front desk to get your exemption wristband and enjoy your workout!

Will staff be required to wear face covering at all times, too?

Staff will lead by example with the latest order and wear face coverings at all times when they are interacting with the public and with each other.

How do these new rules regarding face coverings affect the pool areas?

Safety is our #1 priority in the pool and rescue-ready lifeguards and instructors in the water do not need to wear face coverings if they are in rotation.  Swimmers or water fitness participants do not need a face coverings when in the water but must wear one on the pool deck — and physical distancing is required in the pool.

Do I have to have a face covering on at all times during outdoor wellness/fitness programs?

We strongly encourage you to wear a face covering at all times while outside. However, for outdoor fitness/wellness programs it is not required as long as 6’ of social distancing is maintained.

Do I have to wear my face covering on a treadmill and while I’m doing heavy cardio?


What about youth sports?

Yes, all participants age 5 and older and parents must wear a mask at all times when indoors in our facilities.

What about E-Learning Academies?

Masks are required at all times in our E-Learning Academies for staff and participants. This new Executive Order does not change this.