Physically distant fitness: Gyms adjust to the coronavirus

Published: Jun. 23, 2020 at 4:35 PM EDT
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Gyms in Vermont got the OK to open on June 1. With many points of contact and shared air, many gyms took extra time for adjustments to make the spaces safe. Our Elissa Borden checks in with local fitness centers to see how they're handling physically distant fitness.

Marketplace Fitness opened on June 8 after taking a week to add strict cleaning protocols and social distancing measures.

"We've actually remodeled a bit of our gym. We've taken our group fitness classroom and turned that into another weight room and cardio space, as well," said Mark Mercer, the general manager of Marketplace Fitness.

Mercer tells me their workout slots are by appointment only. Between the 45 minute slots is a 15-minute cleaning break.

And it's working because memberships are not down. While some have temporarily frozen theirs until they return to work, guests feel comfortable working out.

"When we first started, it was pretty slow," Mercer said. "We depend a lot on the downtown businesses for our memberships. But as people have felt more comfortable and they've waited to see how things would unfold, they've started to return and it's been great seeing everybody!"

The Edge Fitness took some time to adjust their facilities, as well. They're using their field house in Williston as a workout space, completely eliminating the need for appointments due to its size.

They're also cleaning nonstop, during open hours and at night.

"We've converted all of our bathroom fixtures-- so faucets, paper towels, soap dispensers have all been converted to touchless," said Mike Feitelberg, the president and owner of the Edge.

Feitelberg says as the days go on, more and more people make their way back into the gym. This week, they saw a 20% spike in attendance as compared to the first week that they opened.

"I knew that the Edge had gone out of their way to make it safe for us and I was actually anxious to get back, so I actually wasn't nervous at all," said Tim Ford, a client at the Edge.

"We've received wonderful feedback on the setup, people really enjoy the space. It's very easy to navigate and people see that we're putting health and safety as the first priority so it's bringing back a lot of confidence," Feitelberg said.

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