Gyms adapt to new normal during pandemic
CALGARY -- Depending on where you go, some Calgary gyms and fitness centres are either open or closed.
After the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered operations in mid-March, Calgary fitness clubs and gyms were given the green light to re-open operating under strict guidelines last month.
That included drastically reduced capacity for each gym.
“We’re probably down to 40-30 per cent, even within our own gym on how we allow that and we have some wait times as well,” said Edie Vlooswyk, who's the director of member services at Big Sky Fitness.
When Big Sky Fitness re-opened in June, members were asked to take their own bottle of sanitizer, cloth and wipe down every piece of equipment they touched during their workout.
Some stations are out of order, due to physical distancing guidelines.
Staff say it's been a big change, but they have adapted quickly.
“A lot of us know our members very very well, so we’re used to talking with them, and talking closely - and wanting to hug them,” said Vlooswyk.
Personal trainer Daniel Mills says one-on-one training has changed.
“Just (things like) teaching them a different way through verbal communication so they know exactly what we want and working with them more outside of this place as well,” said Mills, of Big Sky Fitness.
Two Toronto doctors have ventured from the hospital walls, to help gym-chain Good Life Fitness simulate circumstances, if an outbreak were to occur, or a facility had one positive case of COVID-19.
“How you would respond based on contacts, and how would you trace those contacts and when you would choose to close down a club, and how do you communicate that message to the public?” said Dr. Christopher Hicks.
Hicks and his colleagues provided a simulation, combined with clinical and behavioural psychology expertise, to create customized solutions for the unique needs of fitness clubs.
Hicks said he researched the fitness industry, as well as GoodLife spaces, processes, and policies.
He added that he does have advice for smaller gyms, looking at re-opening, if they haven’t done so already.
“I really do think there’s an opportunity, be very thoughtful on how you generate programs, systems of safety,” said Hicks.
“‘Can you establish things like fitness programs outside?’”
Ride Cycle YYC shuttered operations earlier this month after an employee tested positive for the virus. As of Monday, 54 cases have been linked to the facility, including 13 that have recovered.