Gyms prepare to reopen Monday, must operate at 25% capacity


AUSTIN (KXAN) — Gyms are scheduled to reopen May 18 as part of the state’s second phase of business reopenings. Gym owners who plan to reopen on Monday must operate at 25% capacity.

Eli Oldham, the owner of Crunch Fitness in Round Rock, plans to reopen his gym on Monday. He will spend the weekend finalizing the new changes, including spreading out the workout equipment, adding additional disinfecting products and hand sanitizer for employees and gym-goers.

Oldham said they have also developed a new check-in system to keep track of the number of people on the floor.

“When people scan their key tags in, it pops up with a banner saying how many people are in the gym,” he said. “When it reaches capacity, it turns red.”

After crunching the numbers, Oldham said he is ready to reopen.

“It seems like two months is not a huge amount of time, and it’s not, but when your bills are high and your income is low it adds up very quickly. It cost a lot of money to keep the facility going,” he said. “It’s been in the thousands that have not come through.”

While Oldham admits he’s a bit nervous about reopening, he’s looking forward to getting back on track.

“This gym is my baby, so I look forward to getting going on,” he said.

At present, Oldham has plans to keep the workouts outside.

“When we first were opening our gym we taught classes in the parking lot,” he said. “It’s not unfamiliar to us, we’re just going to be better at it.”

Oldham said he is fortunate. He received a PPP loan which helped him keep his staff on board.

Will you return to the gym?

KXAN asked viewers on social media if they plan to return to the gym or wait it out.

Christopher Carlisle said he’ll go back to the gym as soon as they open. Brandy Thompson-Waters agreed, “I’m excited to go and support my gym!” She said she has no problem with social distancing.

Others like Suzie Jimenez said “No way, too soon.” She added as long as there is a stay at home order she will stay home. Ronnie Cervantes said with his heart issues, he’ll continue to work out from home, posting #bettersafethansorry.

Gym reopening status

YMCA of Austin will reopen June 1.

Members can expect to see fees start to get drafted again in June. YMCA officials said they understand not everyone is ready to head back into the facility, so the plan to hold off on charging those members monthly fees for another 1-3 months. However, those who need extra time have to notify YMCA by May 26.

Orangetheory’s Austin studios will reopen on May 22.

Officials said they will reopen under a stringent plan including a limit person-to-person contact and an enhanced cleaning protocol. Members can expect temperature checks at the door, reduced class sizes and a modified class schedule.

They will also redesign workouts to minimize equipment cross-contamination, and do not plan to plan to allow the use of showers and towel service. Face masks are recommended.

Planet Fitness is opening up its nine Austin-area locations on May 18.

Gym representatives said they plan will offer touchless check-in allowing members to use their digital key tag on the gym’s app. Cleaning stations and hand sanitizer throughout the club. Some of the gym’s cardio and strength machines will not available for use to implement social distancing.

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