Many gyms open Monday, but some members are holding back
VANCOUVER -- British Columbia is starting to return to a semblance of normalcy, although some things will never be the same.
Like many businesses, gyms were particularly hard hit by the pandemic. Many voluntarily closed earlier on after recognizing the difficulties that gyms present in controlling the spread of communicable disease.
The provincial health officer green lit gyms to open after the May long weekend but many stayed closed and will reopen on June 1.
“We’ve not only met but exceeded expectations of WorkSafeBC and then we spent the last week training our staff, getting ready for all the behaviours and changes that need to be made inside the clubs,” said Curtis Christopherson, CEO of Innovative Fitness.
It’s going to be a very different experience when gym members return to Innovative Fitness. The company says it decided to hold off on its customized personal training until it was certain it keep everyone safe. Now it's ready.
Plexiglas barriers have been installed, hand sanitizer stations have been placed throughout the gym, the floors have been marked to separate workout pods and trainers will wear protective face shields.
Yet, Christopherson says just 60 per cent of his members have indicated that they plan to return right away.
Recent polls indicate 40 per cent of the people surveyed would not feel comfortable going to a gym until a vaccine is found for COVID-19.
“I’m concerned about my health so I’m reconsidering my gym membership,” said Moira Davidson, who is a member of Club 16 Trevor Linden Fitness in Abbotsford.
Club 16 has posted a video on its Facebook page to try to reassure its members about all the precautions that will be taken. But Davidson, who is a senior, still doesn’t want to take the risk.
“I’m wondering how much monitoring will be done in the actual gym with people who in the past never did their own personal cleaning after getting off a machine,” she said.
She said she was unsuccessful getting anyone to respond to her requests to cancel. The phones went unanswered and there was no email address on the club’s website. CTV News reached out to the club in a private message on Facebook to find someone for her to contact. Club 16 said it will be prepared to answer members' questions and concerns when it opens June 1.
Many clubs put membership fees on hold during the time they were closed and some have extended that to the end of June if members don’t feel comfortable coming back right away.
It’s suggested you contact your gym to work out the details for your safe return. If you want to cancel, read the terms and conditions of your membership to make that happen.
But in the meantime, Innovative Fitness is convinced it can gain member’s confidence by providing a clean and safe facility when all 12 locations reopen.
“We were confident we were going to make it through this and that we were going to open up stronger than we were before,” added Christopherson, “Our goal is to hit about 70 per cent capacity pre-COVID by the end of July.”