Things are far from business as usual at West Michigan gyms, which have been open for a couple of days following a months-long shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cristi Underwood, the general manager at Endurance Fitness and Wellness in Kalamazoo, said there’s a steady stream of people coming in to renew their gym memberships and the phones are ringing off the hook. The clang of weights banging together and a buzz-thump from treadmills, unmistakable sounds of a gym that had been silenced for more than five months, can once again be heard. But there are some changes.
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“We’ve been very conscience about keeping the machines clean, making sure that there is hand sanitizer around and that there are sanitation supplies available to the member to use but we’ve just amped it up a little bit making sure there is a lot of extra," Underwood said. "And we call in extra cleaning crews to come clean between staffing."
The same pre-COVID-19 safety rules would apply, with the biggest difference that everyone would have to wear a mask.
Colin Fannon, manager at Anytime Fitness at Oshtemo, said they’re downsizing some of their classes from 20 people to four, to adhere to social distancing guidelines and reassure gym patrons they’ll be safe.
“We need to have a conversation about how we can build our immune systems and what things can be done to help strengthen that aspect in a safe way. So, as human beings we are resilient and able to handle sickness in a different situation,” Fannon said.
Demario Scott said he had been waiting five months to get back in the gym. He said the gym not only helped his physical health but his mental health.
“I can get up every day knowing that I can come to the gym and it’s a comfortable situation knowing that people are following guidelines, wearing their mask and people are staying six feet apart,” Scott said.
The daycare and pool at Endurance Fitness would remain closed until they get the green light from the state.
Both gym managers said they’re expecting a spike in gym memberships in the weeks to come.