RedZone Fitness in Weston has never known life without restrictions.
The gym opened in July, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the facility’s members and staff have had to grapple with sanitizing, masking and socially distancing requirements ever since. That said, given the smallness of classes, patrons were able to stay far enough apart that they didn’t have to wear masks while working out, said Elana Goldblatt, part owner, studio manager and lead coach at RedZone Fitness
“People had to wear a mask while walking to their spot (and elsewhere in the gym),” Goldblatt said — just not while working out.
That has changed.
On Nov. 20, Gov. Ned Lamont signed an executive order that, among things, required patrons of all gyms and fitness centers in the state to wear masks at all times, “with no exceptions.”
Previously, establishments didn’t have to require that patrons wear a mask during workouts as long as they maintained at least 12 feet of social distance while exercising. The capacity limit at gyms was also reduced, from 50 percent to 25 percent.
The new regulations are an attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Connecticut, which has spiked over the past several weeks. Requiring face coverings at all times can be potentially helpful in the gym environment, said Keith Grant, senior system director of infection prevention for Hartford HealthCare.
“One of the primary (COVID-19) symptoms that we’re most concerned with is coughing,” Grant said during a Tuesday press conference. “The mechanics of coughing is moving the actual particles forward. That is also seen with an increase in the rate of breathing, such as that which happen with exercising.”
Wearing a mask can help prevent those particles from being pushed out, and can keep spread down, Grant said.
Goldblatt said the new restrictions pose some challenges for clients. The gym offers different classes every day and, on Monday, the first day of classes at the gym following the mask requirement, RedZone had a cardio workout class.
“It was hard on Monday because it was a very intense day and the very first day (people were) wearing a mask to work out,” Goldblatt said. “But I think the longer you wear mask while working out, the easier it is. It’s like working out — the first day you do it is going be harder than the fifth day.”
It is another hurdle at a time that’s been full of them, but Goldblatt said if the new guidelines allow gyms like RedZone to remain operational, she and her clients will try to take them in stride.
“We are open,” Goldblatt said. “We still have clients. I will take this as a win.”
Greta Wagner, executive director of Chelsea Piers in Stamford, had a similar attitude. Before the new regulations, she said, “We had a few mask-free zones where people could work out because we had 12-foot distancing. It was very appreciated by clients. It made it much more enjoyable, when people could work out
- As of Thursday, four states — including Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington — re-issued state-mandated shutdowns requiring gyms to temporarily close to halt the spread of the virus.
- In conversations with Business Insider, the chief executives of Life Time Fitness, Self Esteem Brands, and Retro Fitness make their case for leaving fitness centers open and explain why they believe closing them is a threat to public health.
- “If you look at a macro level, what’s frustrating to us is this country has a health problem and it’s not just COVID,” said Self Esteem Brands Chuck Runyon. “There is no better time for health officials around the country to remind people to take control of our health.”
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
While the pandemic has put a damper on Thanksgiving plans for many Americans, rising coronavirus cases are also hindering traditional pre-feast fitness routines like annual turkey trot races and family gym outings.
As of Thursday, four states — including Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington — re-issued state-mandated shutdowns requiring gyms to temporarily shutter to halt the spread of the virus. And while gyms in most states remain open for now, officials in regions like New York are enforcing earlier closing times and stricter capacity limits for fitness centers.
The closures are sparking outcry and exacerbating existing feuds between gym owners and state officials regarding what types of businesses are permitted to remain open and determined essential.
In conversations with Business Insider, the chief executives of Life Time Fitness, Self Esteem Brands, and Retro Fitness made their case for leaving fitness centers open and explain why they feel closing is a threat to public health. Here’s what they had to say.
Gym owners push lawmakers for essential status
Compounding the struggle for gym owners and consumers alike is a lack of conclusive data regarding exposure and infection rates at gyms, leaving many experts and policymakers at odds over the best course of action.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention maintains that “indoor spaces are more risky than outdoor spaces” and several reports found fitness centers — including a spin studio in Ontario, Canada and an indoor ice rink in Massachusetts — tied to several coronavirus outbreaks. Further, a recent analysis by Northwestern University found that gyms were among superspreader venues early in the virus, based on cellphone mobility data.
Still, other studies — including a September report from the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association — are reporting contrary findings that show low risk of infection at gyms. While IHRSA reported infection rates as low as .0023% across 2,873 fitness centers, The Washington Post reported that concerns have arisen over the methodology of the survey and conflicts of interest in its development.
Regardless, gym owners are fighting tooth and nail to keep their facilities open, using any helpful data point to their advantage.
Among the most vocal opponents of gym closures is Bahram Akradi, the founder and CEO of Life Time Fitness, a Minnesota-based company
Some gyms are open on Thanksgiving, which this year falls on November 26. Here we look at the hours of operation at some major gyms across the country, including Crunch Fitness, Gold’s Gym and more.
Most Planet Fitness gyms are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Contact your local venue to confirm before visiting.
The fitness chain has implemented several safety measures amid the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, including “requiring all members to wear masks while in-club so you can gym safely and confidently.
“Keep a safe distance by putting an imaginary treadmill, or two, between you and others,” the company noted.
Guests can also see how many people are at their local branch before visiting through the Planet Fitness mobile app. “Just open up the app and tap Crowd Meter to view how many members are there,” the company advises.
Some LA Fitness locations have yet to resume operations amid the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, while several have reopened. Some LA Fitness gyms have been on a reduced schedule on Thanksgiving in previous years, while some facilities have been closed. Contact your nearest venue to confirm Thanksgiving opening hours before visiting.
The hours of operation at Equinox over holidays, such as Thanksgiving, vary by location. Check your local branch to confirm opening and closing times before visiting.
Equinox gyms have also issued new safety guidelines amid the ongoing pandemic.
“Physical distancing of at least 6-to-10 feet, depending on local guidelines, between members and employees is required at all times. Please respect floor markings and any other visual cues that facilitate distancing at the front desk, in our locker rooms, studios, and other club areas.
“Mask requirements vary by local government mandates,” and guests are advised to check their local branch for details before visiting.
Guests are required to make a booking for their gym session before their visit using the Equinox mobile app, while some branches may require a temperature check.
See the Equinox website for more information.
Some branches of Crunch Fitness are operating on reduced hours on Thanksgiving.
Crunch Fitness gyms have introduced several safety measures, including mask requirements for staff “alongside other PPE [personal protective equipment] if required by public health officials.
“We recommend members wear masks within the gym (unless mask wearing is required at all times by public health officials),” the company said.
Social distancing guidelines and enhanced disinfecting equipment have also been implemented, including the “airPHX clean air systems” which “uses atmospheric cold plasma to change a small percentage of the oxygen molecules in the air into a unique spectrum of oxidizing molecules that kill bacteria, viruses, and mold,” the company noted.
See the Crunch Fitness website to see the hours of operation and the specific safety guidelines issued at your nearest branch.
Anytime Fitness gyms are usually open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including on holidays such as Thanksgiving. Contact your local branch to confirm before visiting.
More than two dozen gyms in Philadelphia are joining forces, demanding that the city allows them to reopen.
They have created the Philadelphia Fitness Coalition and have gathered more than 1,500 signatures in opposition to the new restrictions.
As the number of covid-19 cases rises, the city required gyms to shut down indoor activities at the end of last week.
But gym owners say it is unfair because of the safety precautions they have put in place.
They plan to protest outside of City Hall on Tuesday.
Last week, the city’s top health official, Dr. Thomas Farley, defended the city’s decision to tighten restrictions, saying now is the riskiest time for the transmission of the virus.
“What was now safe is now dangerous with the change in the weather. Many businesses feel they put safety measures in place, sure they have, and I’m sure there’s no spread there and that’s true in many places. Remember, there are more people than ever with the virus,” said Farley.
City officials said dramatic action is needed to respond to an exponential growth in cases and hospitalizations.
On Thursday, health officials announced 765 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Philadelphia. That brings the number of confirmed cases to 57,237.
The number of residents who have died from the virus in Philadelphia is 1,945.
How is 2nd wave of COVID-19 impacting local hospitals?
As the second wave of COVID-19 hits the Philadelphia region, doctors and medical professionals discuss how the virus is impacting hospitals.
Grey Lodge Pub in Mayfair closing
The new round of COVID-19 regulations was the final straw for one Philadelphia restaurant. The Grey Lodge Pub in Mayfair is closing its doors for good after 70 years in business. The Lucky Cat Brewing Company, which is a standalone business inside the pub, will remain open.
Philadelphia museums knocked back down by new COVID-19 restrictions
The new restrictions put in place to tackle the surge of COVID-19 cases in Philadelphia are hitting museums in the area hard. After going through a five-month shutdown during the first wave, they are being shut down again, which in some cases, will cause hard economic pain and uncertainty for employees.
National Constitution Center temporarily closes to the public through January 1, 2021
In accordance with health guidelines from the City of Philadelphia in response to COVID-19, the National Constitution Center is temporarily closed to the public through January 1, 2021. The Center offers a range of free online programs and resources for learners of all ages. CLICK HERE to learn more.
Houses of worship in Philly vow to persevere amid new COVID restrictions
The new COVID-19 restrictions in Philadelphia will have a major impact on houses of worship, which for the time being can operate at only 5% capacity. While the Archdiocese of Philadelphia revises its guidance, some churches and synagogues in the city have a variety of innovative plans
Federal holiday Veterans Day (11 November), honoring military veterans, falls on a Wednesday in 2020.
The public holiday usually sees non-essential federal government offices closed. Banks, post offices and some schools could also close their doors on Veterans Day, some restaurants might also be closed, but others may remain open to offer deals to those off work.
Some will be looking to see if they can get a workout or attend an exercise class before going back to the office. Read on for our list of gyms that are open on Veterans Day. Note: Gyms in cities and towns with coronavirus restrictions may not be open, despite similar gyms being otherwise open nationwide.
Planet Fitness: Planet Fitness will be open on Veterans Day in many locations but hours may be reduced. A representative from the Brooklyn gym told Newsweek it would be open between 7-1 p.m. The Shreveport, Louisiana Planet Fitness gym will remain open 24-hours, according to a representative, and the Seattle Aurora Ave gym will be open regular hours. Phone your local gym to check Veterans Day hours. Local coronavirus restrictions may apply.
LA Fitness: This national gym has 690+ fitness clubs in the U.S. and Canada. Normal hours will apply to most LA Fitness gyms on Veterans Day, but some may have reduced hours—call ahead to check your location before you visit, local coronavirus restrictions may apply.
24 Hour Fitness: This all-day and night gym will be open, and will be fully operational on Veterans Day, opening hours may change in towns and cities with COVID-restrictions.
Equinox Fitness: Most gyms will have regular hours across the nation, but some may have shorter hours. An Equinox representative told Newsweek the best way to get the updated hours is to download the Equinox app, which has all the current hours and holiday hour changes for each location. Locations with COVID rules in place may differ depending on local government regulations. Los Angeles gyms, for example, are currently closed, but Orange County and New York gyms are open.
Gold’s Gym: A representative from East Northport, NY told Newsweek that it would be open during regular hours on Veterans Day, but as Gold’s Gym is franchised this may change from location to location. It’s best to call your local location before you visit.
Orangetheory Fitness: A representative from Orangetheory Fitness in Langhorne, Pennsylvania, told Newsweek the gym would be open on Veterans Day as normal, however, opening hours may change throughout the country as each gym is individually owned.
Snap Fitness: All the Snap Fitness facilities are open 24-hours a day and seven days a week, aside from Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. A representative from Glenwood Park, Atlanta, confirmed their branch would be open on Veterans Day.
Anytime Fitness: This member access 24-hours gym will be open at usual. Staff at the Congress St, Portland,
Thousands of Local Gyms Urge Congress to Include Direct Support for Fitness Industry in Any Post-Election Relief Package
WASHINGTON, Nov. 9, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The Community Gyms Coalition (CGC), a group representing more than 15,000 community gyms in the US, today urged Congress to include direct support for the fitness industry in any post-election relief legislation, in order to help gyms survive the financial impact of mandatory closures and operating restrictions from the COVD-19 pandemic. Leaders in the fitness industry rallying behind the relief effort include CrossFit, Mindbody, Orangetheory Fitness, Self Esteem Brands, Xponential Fitness, and Zumba Fitness.
“Community gyms keep America healthy, but they are struggling to survive due to local closures and operating restrictions, which have been among the most stringent for any industry,” said Jordan Holland, owner of Riot Athletics CrossFit in Seattle, Washington. “Many gyms have been forced to close for six months or longer or operate with a fraction of the customers they need to break even. Debt continues to climb, and cash reserves are long gone. Without direct support, thousands of gyms will close their doors, never to reopen, and tens of millions of Americans will face the long-term health consequences, as our current health crisis leads to a new surge in obesity, depression, and chronic disease. We urge Congress to pass legislation with direct support to help thousands of small to midsize community gyms survive.”
A recent analysis by fitness industry association IHRSA found that up to one-quarter of all fitness facilities, or 10,000 gyms, could close by the end of 2020, absent federal relief. According to data released by Yelp, the nation’s gyms and fitness facilities currently face higher closure rates than nearly any other industry, including restaurants and bars. As of August 31, Yelp data showed 6,024 closed fitness facilities, with 57 percent temporary closures and 43 percent permanent closures.
“This is an important opportunity to join my colleagues in the fitness industry to bring our voices together to support small business owners across the country who need help,” said Andy Gundlach, owner of several Anytime Fitness and Basecamp Fitness locations across Wisconsin. “Fitness and helping people find ways to be healthy and well is important during the pandemic. The relief we need will help restore our industry to continue to make sure people have access to our clubs at such an important time for our country.”
Based on the number of US fitness facilities, the Yelp data implies a gym closure rate nearly five times the restaurant industry and one-third higher than the bar/nightclub industry, using comparative data around industry sizes. Like restaurants, gyms have been unable to fully participate in other federal relief programs due to limitations on the use of funds for standard costs incurred by small and mid-sized gyms. To address those issues, the House passed $120 billion in similar industry-specific support for restaurants as part of the updated HEROES Act.
“The fitness industry plays a critical role in improving the physical and mental health of millions of Americans, said Adam Krell, OrangeTheory Fitness franchisee in New
After months of fitness training online, Mitchell Mathew, who resides in Mumbai, visited a gym for a workout session. Gyms in Mumbai were allowed to reopen from October 25.
The standard operating procedures (SOPs) for gyms in Mumbai are in line with what the Centre has proposed. They include gyms operating at 50 percent capacity, use of face masks at all times, maintaining a six-feet distance between those who are working out at gyms, among others.
As for the sanitisation process, gyms are spraying disinfectants on equipment and machines after every slot, and the sanitisation process goes on for around 30 minutes. Also, at a time, around 9-10 people are allowed, depending on the size of the gym or the fitness studio.
“The feeling of working out at a physical gym or fitness centre is refreshing. While I was working out at home, and using online fitness sessions, the gym has its own set of equipment and machines that can only be availed at a physical fitness centre,” she said.
Like Mathew, there are many who have flocked to gyms in Mumbai, one of the biggest markets for the gym and fitness industry.
“Currently, existing members, with long-term membership, are coming. Right now, we are working at 50 percent capacity. Out of that, on the first day, we had around 40-45 percent footfalls. We are seeing around 70-80 people coming to our gym in a day. Before the pandemic, we used to have 200 member footfalls a day,” said Badal Makwana, Managing Director, Anytime Fitness, a gym in Khar and Andheri.
Makwana said that members at his gym are happy to be back and this is why he is confident that the footfalls will increase in the coming days.
Vaibhav Keshav Pawaskar, Marketing head, Reset Life, a gym in Mumbai, pointed out that many people are not coming to gyms currently because of the festive period.
This is why Reset Life saw less-than-expected turnout in the first few days.
“It was lower than our expectations. We expected 150 people to show up, but for the first two days, we saw around 90-100 people coming to the gym. Most of our members are out of town. In the pre-COVID period, we used to see, on an average, around 200-220 people in a day,” said Pawaskar.
He also added that, currently, members at his gym are opting for cardio sessions. “There are people who are doing body type workout. So, around 10-15 percent of our members are asking for personal trainers and these customers were with us pre-COVID also through online sessions.”
Hybrid model the way forward
This is why most gym owners believe that the hybrid model will be the way forward and they will continue offering online fitness classes.
“While gyms and fitness centres have reopened across India, virtual fitness services gaining prominence with the consumers will help gym businesses recover sales.
So we rounded up some workouts to take you through the winter; some indoors, some outside and some a hybrid — but all with a strong focus on keeping you safe.
Unite at the Armory
23rd and Ranstead Streets, Philadelphia, Pa. 19103
Unite One-on-One Personal Training
26 S. 20th Street, Philadelphia, Pa. 19103
Unite Live & On-Demand Virtual Classes
Commit to a year and it’s $300 for unlimited live and on-demand virtual classes.
SPECIAL DEAL FOR FYI PHILLY VIEWERS
*Select Streaming Intro Trial and enter the code FYIPHILLY at checkout to receive complimentary 14 days full access to Unite Live and On-Demand, plus two Guest Live Class Reservations.
Amrita Yoga & Wellness
Offering Sculpture Courtyard & Barn Classes that are also live-streamed and available on-demand
1717 N. Hancock Street, Philadelphia, Pa. 19122
JP Sneed Personal Fitness Studio
One-on-one & small group training in Sculpture Courtyard & Barn
1714 N. Mascher Street (entrance also on 1717 N. Hancock Street ), Philadelphia, Pa. 19122
The Training Station | 5 Part Pandemic Plan | Workout Reservations
533 Spring Garden Street, #D1, Philadelphia, Pa. 19123
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Are gyms closing in lockdown? What Covid restrictions mean for fitness centres, and when they could open again
A second national lockdown will come into force as of Thursday 5 November to curb the spread of coronavirus.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the latest measures alongside chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance and chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty during a press conference at Downing Street on Saturday.
As with the first lockdown, everyone in England will be banned from leaving their home except for a list of specific circumstances including going to school, commuting to work if you cannot work at home, seeking medical care or buying essential supplies.
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But will gyms close again? Here’s what the second lockdown means for fitness centres.
Are gyms closing again?
Gyms and fitness centres were one of the last businesses to reopen at the end of July, following the first lockdown in spring.
Sadly, under the latest lockdown rules, they are set to close again.
Indoor and outdoor leisure facilities, including bowling alleys, swimming pools, golf courses and driving ranges, as well as dance studios, stables and riding centres, soft play facilities, climbing walls and climbing centres, archery and shooting ranges, water and theme parks will also have to shut their doors.
Pubs, bars, restaurants and non-essential retail will close and people will be told to stay at home unless they have a specific reason to leave.
How long are they going to stay closed for?
Ms Johnson said will last from Thursday 5 November until 2 December.
This means that gyms and all other sports facilities will remain closed for at least four weeks.
Although Cabinet minister Michael Gove on Sunday added that England’s national lockdown could last longer than four weeks, if the R rate is not successfully brought below 1.0 by the end of the proposed lockdown period.
Why are gyms closing?
The closures of gyms are part of the second lockdown measures to halt the spread of Covid-19 cases as fresh data showed the second wave could be deadlier than the first.
Mr Johnson performed the U-turn after Government scientists presented data which showed that without drastic action, the NHS was on track to run out of capacity by the first week of December – even if all elective procedures are cancelled and Nightingale hospitals are reactivated.
It is understood the Prime Minister changed his mind on the merits of going back into lockdown when modellers from the Spi-M subcommittee of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies presented him with figures showing that NHS capacity will be exhausted on 4 December if hospitalisations continue on their current trajectory.
A further 162 people have died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Sunday, while there were 23,254 new lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus, bringing