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SLO gyms begin modified re-opening after COVID-19 shut them down

Posted at 10:10 AM, Jun 15, 2020

Many gyms across San Luis Obispo County are reopening this week after closing for months due to COVID-19.

"A lot of summer activities have been canceled, festivals, concerts, sporting events, so coming to the gym is going to be a bit of a social time for people," Club 24 Co-owner Sanaz Rahimi said.

Sweaty social hour meets social distancing at Club 24, which re-opened Monday morning to members after closing in mid-March.

"A couple hundred come in each day during the week, Monday is a popular day, everyone starts their diet on a Monday," Rahimi said.

If you're one of those workweek weight watchers, Club 24 may look a little different.

"We have a nice big open airy space, we rearranged some equipment," Rahimi said. "We do have a lot of equipment so that allowed us not to have to limit capacity."

But that's not the case across town at the YMCA, which re-opened Friday.

"No more than 40 people in the center and that accounts for about a third," SLO YMCA COO Keola Taniguchi said.

Appointments are suggested not required at the YMCA, but given the number of senior members at the YMCA, certain hours are reserved.

"We've also designated certain times in the day -- midday -- for what we're calling the most vulnerable population," Taniguichi said. "In that group is our active older adults."

Both gyms are ramping up cleaning protocols. The YMCA is checking the temperature of its members at the door and limiting locker rooms to changing clothes and use of the restroom.

Neither gym will offer group fitness right away.

"In our first phase, what we're really doing is focusing on individual activities," Taniguchi said. "Things like group exercise where people are gathering together, we're looking at something like that in our second phase."

While members are encouraged to remain socially distant at Club 24, Rahimi said she is certain the reunion of gym members under the same roof will bring people comfort.

"It's just gonna be nice to see a familiar face, get that human connection, check-in with them, and carry on with your workout," Rahimi said.

Some gyms may require members to sign a liability waiver before returning, acknowledging the risk of contracting the virus while working out.

Under the state's gym re-opening policy, all employees must have their temperature taken before starting work.