Gov. Ralph Northam’s Phase 3 plan relaxed restrictions on many businesses, including gyms.
As local gyms started to welcome more of their members back, operators continue to adapt to this new coronavirus life, the new norm.
Iron-Bound Gym reopened their doors on June 8, but because of the regulations presented for each phase of reopening, the gym has been running at a lower capacity.
Iron-Bound-Gym has expanded their hours of operation to compensate for fewer clients allowed inside. It has turned to creative measures to ensure members remain 10 feet apart by using equipment to section off people.
Despite the fewer in-person classes available, Iron-Bound has turned to social media to keep in touch with members and offer virtual classes.
The gym started a private Facebook group shortly after closing their doors in March that allows clients to participate in group workout classes. They have even started live workout videos.
“The reason why we like Facebook is that you get the interaction and the commenting,” said Scott Grafton, owner of Iron-Bound Gym. “And you can communicate as if you’re there with people.”
Grafton said he did notice attendance for the virtual classes has waned since they started online, but he attributes the decline to people taking advantage of the outdoors.
To keep members engaged, the gym had several contests. One contest challenged members to keep track of their heart rate through an app called MyZone. In another contest, if members checked in 100 times, they received a free t-shirt.
“We ended up giving everyone a check-in for each day we’ve been closed. We’ve been going through a lot of t-shirts, but that’s not a bad thing,” Grafton said.
Crossfit 1607 has also been getting creative to keep clients active and engaged. They started using Zoom to teach online classes but then switched to a platform called Studio to allow more flexibility for clients.
The gym offered outdoor classes during Phase 1 of reopening, but Michelle Midnight, co-owner of Crossfit 1607, said it was challenging because of the weather.
Crossfit 1607 was able to officially reopen back in June, but they have been holding fewer classes.
“Pre-COVID, we would run a kids’ class with an adult class so parents could bring their kids, and their kids could workout the same time they do,” Midnight said. “Now, only one class can go at a time to make sure there is enough space for everything.”
Now that COVID-19 cases are continuing to rise again, gyms are facing the possibility of having to allow fewer people inside or even shut their doors again.
“For us, one of the biggest things about closing down was that a huge chunk of our revenue is not just memberships,” Midnight said. “The other part was in-person services that we weren’t able to offer while we were closed down.”
“We did expand our hours during Phase 3, which we will keep if we go backwards,” Grafton said.
The gym also plans on continuing their use of Facebook live to offer virtual classes and work-out groups.
Despite the uncertainty of the future, Grafton said safety is his top concern.
“At some point, someone we know is going to test positive. It’s just a matter of fact,” he said. “But if it is someone here, then we are doing our best to make sure it’s not shared here.”
Midnight said Crossfit 1607 will continue offering Studio classes if they must close their doors again.
“Making your health your priority is so important,” Midnight said. “Your health is your main defense against COVID.”
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