Texans on Monday returned to gyms and physical fitness centers for the first time in more than two months. Workouts, however, will retain some COVID-19 twists, such as limited-capacity gyms and extra sanitizing.
Still, many popular gyms around Anderson County prepared to welcome back customers, as stipulated by Gov. Greg Abbott's executive order. The order permits gyms and exercise facilities to reopen, while operating at only 25-percent capacity.
Under the mandate, the YMCA could allow 45 members in their Wellness Facility, but YMCA CEO Cindy Piersol said it will operate with fewer people to enable at least six feet of separation between patrons. On Monday, for example, the Wellness Center served, at most, 20 people in the gym.
Palestine's YMCA will be staffed with a designated sanitizing employee who will go behind members to wipe down equipment. The YMCA will also go through its entire facility four times a day with a sanitizing machine, which has a solution that kills viruses.
Piersol says her staff was excited to reopen. “It's a great move and a wonderful thing for the community,” she said.
Employees and members will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms before entering the gym or exercise facility.
There will be temperature checks at the door and hand sanitizer. Anyone who feels feverish or has a temperature greater than 100.0 degrees Fahrenheit will be sent home.
For now, people may determine how long they work out. However, the YMCA will move toward a reservation system, if the gym becomes so full it has to turn people away.
As of now, facility use is for members only during YMCA Phase I.
Other Palestine gyms, such as Anytime Fitness and Snap Fitness, also are opening their doors only to members.
Snap Fitness owner Gary Allen said Snap's maximum occupancy is now 20 at 25 percent. Snap Fitness offers online workouts for members who are hesitant to return to the gym.
“All of the gyms are taking precautionary steps to ensure the environment stays safe for them,” Allen said. “We want to maintain the safety of our members and community.”
Virtual and in-person classes are offered at the YMCA as well. In-person classes will not exceed more than 10 members.
Senior classes will not resume until next Monday.
“We're excited to get our members back in here,” Piersol said. “We have our safety measures in place and I want people to feel comfortable coming back here.”