BACK TO BUSINESS: How fitness centers are finding new normal

Doors are reopening at recreation facilities across the state, but yogis and tennis players alike will quickly realize it’s anything but business-as-usual when they return.

From mask use to social distancing, new statewide guidelines will create a new normal. Some facilities have chosen not to open just yet or are looking into alternative class locations.

Things will look different, but the well-being of their fitness family is the priority of owners and managers as their facilities reopen.

Space Three, Lindsey Deck

The boutique fitness center opened its doors in Downtown Dayton in November 2019 so closing their doors just a few months later was “devastating” according to the owner Lindsey Deck. They created an online community and held virtual classes for the past few months and are working toward reopening on June 1.

“We miss the community aspect of being together at the studio. We’re working hard behind the scenes to ensure we can satisfy the protocols for a June reopening. We’ll be instituting things like measuring out spacing to ensure social distancing, ordering extra cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer, equipping our space to be as hands-free as humanly possible and ordering signage to reinforce our policies. In addition, there will be a lot of changes to our scheduling and class sizes to ensure adequate cleaning time between classes and to ensure we maintain that six-foot radius. It’s a lot, but we are ready. It was a very thoughtful decision-making process for us about whether or not to reopen, but after reviewing the requirements and assessing our space we really believe we can safely accommodate our clients. For a lot of us, working out is a huge benefit, not only physically but mentally, so we’re excited to provide a space where people can start having a sense of normalcy again.”

Innergize, Kelly Gibson

The Innergize Empower Hour classes were just getting underway at the Brightside Music & Event Venue when the shutdown occurred. But Innergize founder Kelly Gibson is resilient and ready to get the classes started on a smaller scale on Mondays at 5:30 p.m. starting on June 1.

“I know people need to be uplifted more than ever and I am really looking forward to helping Dayton #shineon and make wellness a priority in a safe and precautionary way. Participants are encouraged to wear a mask upon entering and leaving the facility and when not engaged in physical activity. Participants are required to bring their own water bottles and will be asked to remain in their vehicles until staff lets them into the building one at a time, no earlier than 5:20 p.m., to ensure social distancing guidelines are met. There will be extra space provided to allow for adequate movement in class. When class is over, participants are asked to use a provided sanitizer wipe as they walk down the stairwell and proceed to their vehicles without additional gathering in the indoor space or parking lot. Our goal is to provide an uplifting fitness experience that will leave you feeling empowered and ready to face the week ahead.

Day Yoga, Devon Schmidt

Like many other yoga studios, Day Yoga went virtual in March, holding a variety of classes online. While the studio doors are now open, some virtual classes will continue for those who prefer to practice from home. For those who want to get back into the studio, Day Yoga is taking precautions for the benefit of their students.

“We will have a hand sanitizer station for use upon entering the lobby and we’ve removed our class sign-in sheets. Staff will be wearing masks when behind the desk. For our Brown Street studio, the side door will be utilized for all exiting, and our two main yoga rooms will have designated entry and exit doors. Students will be asked to bring their own props, but if they need to use studio props those will be sanitized after each use. Surfaces will be regularly wiped down and studio floors will continue to be cleaned between each class. Cubby use will be restricted to keep items separated. Class sizes will be limited to allow 6 feet of space between students.”

Kettering Tennis Center/Quail Run Racquet Club, Darrin Heinz

Unlike some exercise classes, living room tennis was not a feasible solution for members of local tennis clubs. While KTC/Quail staff posted drills for their members on social media, many public courts were also unavailable as a result of the state’s shutdown of parks. Adult and youth programming at the two centers will get underway on June 1 for all levels with a few noticeable changes.

“We are so excited to start playing tennis again. So many people rely on tennis for their exercise and way of life. The club has taken all of the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of all players. Although we are cautious moving forward, we feel confident that with over 6,000 square feet per court, we can provide a safe and healthy place for people to get great exercise and have fun. During lessons, the students will not touch the tennis balls. The pros will pick up all of the balls and there will be no serving so that students do not have to touch the tennis balls. There will be a limit of four students per court and there will be a pro on each court. During regular play everyone will bring their own can of balls and only touch the balls that they brought. No one will pick up anyone else’s tennis balls, if needed, they will kick the tennis balls or use their racquet to pick up the ball and hit it to the other players.”

CycleBar Austin Landing, Steve Zubrzycki

While CycleBar was closed, many of the bikes from the indoor cycling studio were still getting use as they were rented out to members who could pedal along during Livestream classes. During the club’s in-person hiatus, a new state-of-the-art air purifying system was installed to help riders feel more comfortable about coming back.

“We’re definitely excited about opening but we’re not sure exactly what to expect. We were probably averaging between 38 and 42 per class prior to the closing and we will now only have 17 bikes in use at a time for social distancing so we are probably going to have to add classes. And we will probably continue Livestream classes because we have more than 20 members who would like to keep their bike for another month. Classes will also probably be shorter so we have more time to sanitize in between classes.”

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