On February 25, the CDC rescinded mask-wearing recommendations for most of the country, and specifically in areas with low or medium COVID-19 community levels. In accordance with the updated guidance, mask-wearing will be optional for all members and staff using Chelsea, Dexter and Stockbridge Wellness Centers. This adjusted policy went into effect at 5:00 am on Thursday, March 3.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, 5 Healthy Towns Foundation (5HF) which operates the wellness centers followed the guidance of the CDC, as well as local, state and county authorities as it relates to keeping our staff and members as safe as possible. The Wellness Center’s Healthcare Advisory Committee (HCAC) assists in providing professional recommendations to the foundation and center administration.
HCAC member Randall T. Forsch MD MPH said, “As we see new COVID-19 infections diminishing locally, it is very reasonable to make wearing a face mask optional at our Wellness Centers as was decided by committee 03/01/2022. Members should continue wearing masks if they are immunocompromised or concerned about possible COVID-19 transmission while exercising. We hope that this face mask policy change will remain indefinitely, but also know that this Pandemic may not be over and may need to be reenacted in the future.”
5HF CEO Steve Petty said “we are delighted to make this long anticipated announcement. Mandated mask-wearing has been a necessary operational policy, but we are well aware that individuals who typically use the centers, but are uncomfortable doing so behind a mask, have experienced more sedentary lifestyles as a result of this policy. If you’ve been out of the routine of regular physical activity, it’s time to get moving again!”
Further guidance issued by the CDC advises individuals who are immunocompromised, or at high risk for severe disease, to seek advice from their doctor about whether to wear a mask, or to take other precautions in indoor public settings. The Chelsea Wellness Center will continue to provide a dedicated workout area with generously spaced equipment, for those that are immunocompromised, or are uncomfortable using other areas of the building.
About 5 Healthy Towns Foundation:
5 Healthy Towns Foundation (5HF) is a private foundation governed by a volunteer board of directors that serves the Michigan school districts of Chelsea, Dexter, Grass Lake, Manchester, and Stockbridge. The mission of 5HF is to cultivate improvements in personal and community wellness by encouraging people in its five healthy towns to eat better, move more, avoid unhealthy substances, and connect with others in healthy ways. For more information on 5HF, visit 5healthytowns.org.