Gyms allowed to open once again
After a brief reopening period back in June and being ordered to close again, gyms in Santa Barbara County can now operate indoors at 10% capacity.
This is the first time members have been allowed indoors for months, per the new Health Officer Order that went into effect Oct. 2, as Santa Barbara County moved up to the red tier.
This time around, local gyms believe they, and their members, are prepared and adapted to take on socially-distanced, masked workouts.
“It’s been a challenge to accommodate the ever-changing regulations and advice from the governor, county and city officials,” Brian Sawicki, the owner of Key 2 Fitness, told the News-Press. “Our members have been quite understanding and are hanging in there.”
At Key 2 Fitness, staff added 800 square feet of artificial turf outside so members have the option to exercise outdoors. The gym requires masks inside unless there is an approved medical exception, emphasizes spacing between members and non-family units and spreads out cardio equipment throughout the gym.
Employees and janitors also work behind the scenes during non-busy hours.
Mr. Sawicki said the nature of Key 2 Fitness’s business plan “has lent itself well to the COVID-19 restrictions.
“Even during normal times, we were uncrowded and operated at less than 10% of our building occupancy,” he said. “Cleanliness and proper sanitation is nothing new to us. Being open 24 hours a day has allowed members to find non-busy times to workout, even alone at times.”
Mad Fitness SB is also providing an outdoor option for its members if they would like.
“Some of them (the members) have actually adjusted to being outdoors and they like it more,” Marianne Madsen, owner of Mad Fitness SB, told the News-Press. “It’s been cool because we’ve seen some people who don’t really want to go back to the bigger gyms, so we get new faces.”
She said the gym has a cleaning crew every night, on top of staff cleaning every hour. Masks and social distancing are mandatory.
Ms. Madsen added that the gym has seen more people coming to work out now than the first reopening.
“It’s definitely been a lot smoother the second time reopening than the first,” she said. “We’re just super excited to be back open. We’re still here, and it’s really awesome.”
Phil Cota, manager at Gold’s Gym, said staff has been spraying the entire facility with an electrostatic disinfectant that sticks to equipment and wraps around its edges, continuously disinfecting for 30 days.
Along with that, the gym installed UV lighting in its HVAC system that kills bacteria, and staff provide a spray bottle and towel for each person so they can wipe down their equipment, even with staff disinfecting equipment every 30 minutes.
He added that staff created an open air environment on the upstairs level, with open windows and french doors propped open, to give members “that fresh air feeling.”
“We’ve successfully created a very sterile environment in the gym,” Mr. Cota told the News-Press. “I feel like it’s safer here than eating and drinking downtown without a mask on.”
He continued that staff hasn’t had to monitor mask-wearing as much, compared to the first reopening.
“It’s going much better this time around,” he said. “The whole community is just used to wearing their face masks, so now everyone’s wearing the masks proudly. It’s much busier this time around.
“People have a fear that gyms are this dirty place. People are sweating. It’s a gym,” Mr. Cota concluded. “But we’ve created such a clean, healthy environment where it’s safe to work out to boost your immune system. You’re combatting getting sick.”