Last week, President Donald Trump revealed his guidelines for “opening up American again” with a list of businesses and institutions that would be the first to open. On the list: restaurants, movie theaters, sporting venues and places of worship. The guidelines suggested a reopening of gyms if “they adhere to strict physical distancing and sanitation protocols.”
While grocery stores are already highlighted as hotspots for the spread of coronavirus due to heavy traffic, the reopening of gyms also runs the risk of coronavirus infections rising. Gyms, where people breathe hard, sweat and share equipment in a smaller environment, are not often thought of as “essential” businesses, despite many Americans flocking to them daily.
Those associated directly with fitness-center companies — both of large chains like Gold’s Gyms to smaller independently-owned gyms — told CNN they don’t expect to see their business make it to the list of reopenings.
Gym Reopenings Vary
While gyms are included in phase one of ‘Opening Up America Again’ and Georgia Governor Brian Kemp’s plan to reopen businesses in that state, many gym locations are anticipating different results. Gyms face the challenge of keeping machines properly sanitized amid heavy traffic and have members maintain a safe distance of at least six feet.
CNN reports on how different gyms are planning to reopen while keeping members and workers safe. A spokesperson for Planet Fitness told CNN there was no set date for reopening locations in Georgia and around the country. The executive chairman of Equinox Group, Harvey Speak, also told CNN they won’t open their SoulCycle studios this Friday when the state’s restrictions lift.
All the gym executives CNN spoke to reported they’re expanding company-wide cleaning procedures and social distancing measures for when they do reopen. For employees, this means mandatory temperature checks, masks and gloves.
For members, gyms like Planet Fitness and 24 Hour Fitness are planning to use their company apps to check people into their clubs for limited social interaction. Facilities like 24 Hour Fitness also will run on intervals, opening for 60 minutes followed by 30-minute closures in between for cleaning.
Gyms Reopening: Sources
CNN White House Guidelines for ‘Opening Up America Again’