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Feb 25, 2022 11:06:04 AM

COVID-19: Armed Services YMCA support for military families

During a time like this, we know your military family may need support more than ever. Know that we’re here for you.

HQ-2020-COVID-Blog HeaderB

Tiwtter Military Family ImageUpdated April 17, 2020

Each of the 13 Armed Services YMCA branches is deciding what is best based on its community’s needs and requirements and state and federal guidelines. You can also follow your branch on social media to get the latest. 

Please return here often for updates and new information. Like yourselves, we continue to carefully monitor the situation and discuss how best to return safely to normal operations.

What are some other organizations that can help?
If you or your family are in need of gap services, please contact Military OneSource. It is available 24/7/365 to help you handle stress and challenges related to COVID-19, as well as provide non-medical counseling and support. Call 800-342-9647. 

Feeding America understands that many military and veteran families may find themselves newly in need of food assistance. The organization has a new page on its website to help families find resources in their community.   

What about the Department of Defense?
Military OneSource, the Military and Family Life Counseling program, and the Spouse Education and Career Opportunities programs continue to serve the military community. For more, click here. Military OneSource is live on Facebook Monday-Friday at noon Eastern time to share resources. If you miss out, videos will be on-demand. 


canva-image-10What about the YMCA | DoD Military Outreach Initiative?
Due to COVID-19, YMCA and private fitness access will be situational, based on individual facility determination and as regulated by local and state authorities. Service members are responsible for coordinating and complying with their military unit/command recommendations and restrictions on facility use. 
Minimum attendance reporting is waived beginning March 1, 2020, until further notice. Members that will not use the facility for 30 days or more should notify the facility as soon as known (via phone or email) and request their membership be put on HOLD status. If approved by the facility manager, the membership term may be extended by the same period of time it was on hold at no additional cost to the government. 

Do you have any alternative to the gym?
It's tough not to be able to make it the gym. Stay active with free on-demand programs through These are some of the Y's most popular group exercise classes: boot camp, barre, yoga and low impact programs for seniors. Classes are led by a YMCA instructor.  

What does Tricare say about COVID-19?
If you or a family member are showing symptoms or you believe you were exposed to COVID-19, Tricare says you are not to make an appointment or walk into a military hospital or clinic. Instead, stay at home and speak with a Military Health System (MHS) registered nurse, who will assess your symptoms.” From their site: "Co-pays will be waived retroactively to March 18 for approved COVID diagnostic testing and office visits related to the testing. If you paid any co-pays for testing related to COVID-19 and the resulting office visits with a network or non- network provider, you may file a claim for reimbursement."


What does the CDC have to say?
A lot. It has several recommendations to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases like COVID-19 and influenza:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and face.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

What is social distancing?
It’s putting space between you and other people. That space should be six feet to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This has led to large public gatherings to be canceled or postponed. It’s also why restaurants are being closed in some places and people who can telework are being asked to.

HQ-2020-teaserAny tips for talking to kids to help manage their stress and anxiety?

The CDC has recommendations for this too! It suggests:

  • Taking time to talk with your child or teen about the COVID-19 outbreak in a way they can understand.
  • Reassuring your child or teen that they are safe. Let them know it is OK if they feel upset. Share with them how you deal with your own stress so that they can learn how to cope from you.
  • Limiting your family’s exposure to news coverage of the event, including social media.
  • Trying to keep up with usual routines.

Learn more about helping children cope.

What about military travel? 

On March 25, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, Defense Secretary, announced a 60-day stop movement order for all service members, civilian employees of the Department of Defense and sponsored family members overseas. This was done to help prevent spread of COVID-19. 

Esper said April 14 that these restrictions barring troops, families and civilian workers from nearly all official travel will not be lifted May 11 when the initial orders were set to expire.

Previously, travel for service members and families was restricted starting March 16. The halt to official travel is through May 11. What does that mean for you and your family? 


Posted March 17, 2020
Updated April 16, 2020 


The Armed Services YMCA is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit that serves currently serving military members and their families. In 2019, we engaged more than 250,000 participants and delivered more than 1.3 million points of service to junior enlisted Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, Airmen, Coast Guardsmen and family members at 200 service centers in 18 states. Whether providing respite child care for parents in need, summer camps for kids, or assisting with emergency needs, the Armed Services YMCA is a nonprofit with a mission: Strengthening Our Military Family®. Visit our website to see how you can join us in supporting military families.