One of the last businesses waiting for the go-ahead to reopen across New York are gyms. Best Fitness, which has three locations in the Capital Region, is sharing how it's preparing to reopen ahead of state guidelines.
"Over the last few weeks, we've reopened nine locations across Massachusetts and New Hampshire, so really, what we're doing is looking at what we've implemented in those locations that is successful, in forecasting New York would put forward a lot of the same guidelines," said Andy Marino, the chief operating officer at Best Fitness.
Marino says they're working to ready their three Capital Region locations for reopening as soon as Governor Andrew Cuomo gives the green light, but his number-one priority is making sure members feel safe working out, knowing the gym is taking the same precautions as other businesses.
"I think making sure members understand gyms are clean, gyms are safe, and we're taking all the same protocols, and even more protocols, than some of those other businesses," Marino said.
A few of those protocols include flow arrows throughout the club, touch-less check-in, and no access to water fountains for the time being. Some equipment is out of service to maintain social distancing, along with additional sanitization, and stations are stocked with hand sanitizer and hospital-grade disinfectant for equipment.
"So we're asking our members be ultra diligent about wiping equipment down before and after use, and then in addition to that, we've invested in sanitation sprayers our staff will use on the hour to make sure all hard surfaces and all our equipment is disinfected," Marino said.
Staff will also be required to take a short health questionnaire before they come to work and will have temperature checks upon arrival at the gym. Marino says they're also installing the same air conditioner filtration the state required malls to do, but right now, it's unclear whether you'll need to wear a mask.
Massachusetts is requiring masks throughout workouts, while New Hampshire just asks that you wear one as you enter and leave the gym. As for group classes, Marino says it comes down to the size of the studios they're held in.
"The capacity in each room, really what we've seen in other states, comes down to social distancing," Marino said. "So there are markers on the floor directing members where to stand when the class is ready to start, and then based on how many people we can fit, that's when we start to look at the actual design of the programming."
In the meantime, Best Fitness members can sign up for free bootcamp classes in the Fuller Road parking lot on the app or take virtual workouts online. If you're not sure you're ready to come back when the doors do reopen, Marino says members can continue pausing their memberships until they feel safe enough to do so.
"It's very exciting and you know, sometimes they say, 'save the best for last.' We've learned a lot opening up our New Hampshire location and all of our Massachusetts locations, so I feel like [with] our three New York locations, we will be better prepared than any of the other openings to provide our members with an above-average experience," Marino said.