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Airdrie fitness centres start to reopen

After closing in mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic, Airdrie's gym owners are now putting together plans and strategies to safely reopen.

On June 12, the Alberta government gave indoor fitness facilities in the province the green light to resume operations as part of Stage 2 of its relaunch strategy. One of the first Airdrie-based gyms to reopen was F45 Training. The circuit-based, high-intensity interval training studio welcomed members back June 15, with limited capacity and new health and social-distancing measures in place to comply with public health guidelines.

“It’s going to look quite a bit different than what the typical F45 session used to look like,” said co-owner Dylan Dagenais. “We have a whole new program put in place that allows our members to train in place and not share equipment. If you’ve ever done an F45 session, you know that’s quite a bit different from what we’re used to with our fast-moving, circuit-based training. But I think our members are quite excited to come back, as are we.”

Dagenais said each workout will be limited to 18 people – half the amount F45 Training would have previously allowed to participate. Exercisers will be stationed far apart to comply with social distancing, and each workout station and piece of equipment will be sanitized after each session.

Since the studio's closure, Dagenais said his trainers have worked to adapt their workouts for members. Staff initially started recording and posting videos of daily online workouts that members could perform on demand. Then, F45 started offering outdoor boot camp-style workouts in late May.

Dagenais said F45 will continue to offer online workouts and outdoor boot camps for any members who are still not comfortable with returning to the studio.

Oranj Fitness Airdrie has also resumed operations. According to co-owner Warren Keane, the studio started offering small, outdoor classes in its parking lot June 15. Indoor classes will start up the first week of July, he said, with new health and safety measures, enhanced sanitation procedures and physical distancing protocols in place.

Keane added hand sanitizers will be set up at the front counter, in the bathrooms and throughout the workout space.

“We have Plexiglass shields at the front counter,” he said. “Social distancing for us is three metres, so it’s more than average, because we’re a fitness studio.”

Upon arrival at the studio, members will be asked to fill out a waiver declaring they have not travelled recently and do not have COVID-19 symptoms. Keane said staff will also use a thermometer gun to gauge visitors’ temperatures.

Classes will take place every 30 minutes to give staff  time to adequately disinfect equipment and surfaces.

Meanwhile, Goodlife Fitness Airdrie plans to reopen in the coming weeks. According to Jacob Dearlove, public relations specialist with Goodlife Fitness, the Airdrie location is slated to reopen June 29.

“Our dedicated team has been hard at work consulting experts in infection prevention, cleaning and sanitization to create a reopening plan that is caring, informed, comprehensive and consistent,” Dearlove said by email. “We want to strike an important balance between providing the safest club environment possible and an exceptional experience for our members and associates.”

Goodlife members will be notified by email two weeks in advance of their club's reopening.

According to Dearlove, every Goodlife location in Canada will undergo an intensive deep clean prior to reopening and will be equipped with a Victory Electrostatic Sprayer – a battery-charged sanitization device – for daily disinfection.

“When combined with our increased touch-point disinfection and our industry-leading cleaning program, this will ensure all our clubs receive a comprehensive, thorough cleaning every day,” he said. 

Hand sanitizer and spray bottles will be available around workout spaces, Dearlove said, and exercisers will be required to wipe down equipment before and after each use. 

Goodlife will also limit capacity, implement a reservation booking system, reduce locker availability and require all staff members – excluding fitness instructors who are actively teaching a class – to wear masks.

Scott Strasser,
Follow me on Twitter @scottstrasser19

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