MA Gyms Work To Make Customers Comfortable For Reopening

BRAINTREE, MA — Gyms in Massachusetts can reopen Monday as phase three of the state’s reopening plan begins amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Gym owners across the state expressed excitement to get back to business, but acknowledged things will not look the same as before they were forced to close in March.

Among those changes, gyms will be required to keep occupancy below 40 percent capacity and sanitize equipment after use. All customers will have to be masked, and various social distancing requirements will be in effect.

>>>MA Gyms Work To Make Customers Comfortable For Reopening

Michael Jablonn co-owns a SetPointRX franchise in Braintree. The gym has six locations throughout the state, and Jablonn said though he’s excited for his gym to reopen, there will be some challenges.

Jablonn told Patch he’s hoping to open Monday, but he’s still reviewing the state guidelines. He said SetPoint RX gyms are set up for social distancing because the program is already appointment-based. But he acknowledged there will be challenges including spacing out the equipment.

“If we were able to open for the guidance of a lot of other industries, we’d be ready to go weeks ago,” Jablonn said. “Some of the guidance is way above and beyond some of the other industries. I’ll have to take a closer look.”

Planet Fitness, which is opening most of its Massachusetts locations Monday, has also put in place lots of new health and safety precautions. McCall Gosselin, a corporate spokesperson for Planet Fitness said masks will be required except for when gymgoers are doing strenuous exercise like running. When they are doing these types of activities, people will be positioned at least 14 feet apart. Other guidelines include daily temperature checks for employees, cleanliness training and touchless check in.

Taking a closer look and nailing down these details will be crucial for gyms as customers decide whether to return Monday or wait a bit longer.

Alex Riahi, a member at the Boston Sports Club’s Somerville location, said he’s not comfortable enough yet to go out for his exercise. He told Patch he has plenty of workout equipment at home, so he doesn’t feel the need to rush back yet.

“It’s probably going to take me a little while just not knowing the number of people going in,” Riahi said. “Just knowing the traffic on a day-to-day basis for me, I’m probably not going to rush back.

Others like Matt Hocking, a gymgoer at Planet Fitness in Brockton, admitted he’s excited to get back in the gym. He admitted he’s a little nervous, but that’s why he’s taking some precautions into his own hands.

“In addition to whatever precautions the gym takes, I’m going to take my own precautions,” Hocking said. I’m bringing a bag with disinfectant spray and wipes to wipe down equipment. I also bought one of the bike masks that have a carbon filter just because it’s a little more breathable and comfortable than your typical mask.”

Emma Rossetti, the manager at Anytime Fitness in Falmouth, acknowledged that making people feel comfortable again will be one of the more difficult challenges.

“We’re very excited, and we feel that we’re ready, Rossetti told Patch. “We understand there’s going to be a lot of change making sure everyone is comfortable in terms of cleanliness.

“That’s what we’re dealing with as well, especially with Cape Cod having a larger elderly population,” Rossetti added. “Not everyone feels comfortable going back to the gym and engaging with the public.”

Rossetti said the gym will continue offering online fitness courses for those who aren’t comfortable going out for a workout yet.

“We’ve got home workouts you can do with no equipment or with laundry detergent instead of kettle bells,” Rosetti said. “It’s obviously not the most aesthetically pleasing using bath towels instead of yoga mats in a virtual studio, but it helps people know they can still do workouts without supplies.”

This article originally appeared on the Braintree Patch

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