Fewer Bikes, Temperature Checks: What Some Gyms Will Look Like When They Reopen

From Clevland.com

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Practice makes perfect. That’s the mantra of Orangetheory Fitness staffers, who have spent three weeks going through dry runs of new procedures that will be in force when the gyms open after the COVID-19 shutdown.

Orangetheory employees practiced performing temperature and symptom checks on members, opening the facility’s doors just five minutes before class starts, and pointing out floor decals that will help fitness buffs maintain a six-foot distance.

“We’re getting really comfortable with it all,” said Stephanie Altenburger, owner of eight Orangetheory Fitness centers in this area.

Across Ohio, gyms and fitness studios are preparing to reopen after the Ohio Department of Health closed most businesses mid-March because of the spreading coronavirus.

The state is allowing gyms, fitness centers and other facilities to reopen May 26 if they follow regulations. Some exercise facilities will open at a later date. As late as Thursday, the opening dates of LA Fitness in Lyndhurst and Brooklyn had not been determined. All of Orangetheory’s 20 Northeast Ohio facilities will be open by May 30.

The ODH’s regulations require social distancing; regular disinfection of equipment before and after each use; removal of some seating and lost and founds; and disabling saunas, steam rooms, and most communal showers.

Fitness centers have devised various ways to meet these requirements.

At some LA Fitness locations, fewer people will be allowed inside, according to a video on the company website. Pools, children’s area and group exercise rooms may not be available, and yoga mats have been removed, LA Fitness said.

Gyms are also devising ways to maintain distance between sweaty people as they lift weights or gyrate in Jazzercise. CycleBar Beachwood, a boutique indoor cycling studio, cut the number of bikes in its cycle theater from 50 to 22 to accommodate a six-foot radius around each one, said owner Joe Purton.

Front desk check-ins on an iPad have been eliminated. When CycleBar Beachwood opens on Friday, May 29, members will check in via a mobile app on their phones. Lockers as well as complimentary earplugs, fresh fruit and toiletries have been eliminated. “We want as few touch points as possible,” Purton said.

There are CycleBar locations in Westlake and Hudson.

Purton spent about $6,000 buying and installing three state-of-the-art air filtration units that use UV light to clean the air. “I feel it gives people comfort in coming in and exercising,” he said. “Safety is paramount.

Yoga studio won’t reopen

The pandemic is affecting the bottom lines of many businesses, and gyms are no different.

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