Lethbridge gyms consider what reopening could look like

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Lethbridge gyms consider what reopening could look like
WATCH ABOVE: As it gets closer and closer to the reopening stage for gyms, many are wondering what the future of working out could look like. Taz Dhaliwal looks at what kind of regulations two different facilities in Lethbridge are considering – May 22, 2020

The precise reopening day for gyms in southern Alberta may still be unclear, but what is clear is that these facilities will need to have a concrete relaunch strategy in place.

Such plans will need to include strict cleaning procedures, reduced capacity and physical distancing measures.

Fit Body Boot Camp is a specialized gym in Lethbridge and the owner says it’s ready to open as soon as the Alberta government puts out the word.

“We’ve put together a 25-page reopening protocol that covers everything from how we’re going to clean, how we’re going to work out [and] what clients are going to do,” said Joel Kitkas, the gym’s owner.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Alberta looking at whether gyms could open earlier than planned

The gym has even created eight-by-eight-foot squares in its workout area for clients, and each person will get their own equipment. Kitkas said the squares will help with physical distancing.

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Hand sanitizer stations will be made available and the gym will be sanitized before and after workouts. Also, class sizes will be reduced. Kitkas said classes will be spaced out so that the team has time to thoroughly sanitize the facility.

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He added that he is confident the gym will be able to follow through on these protocols since it is a boutique gym and does not have an incredibly large clientele base.

“A small facility, especially a facility that runs sessions and class like we do, you can 100 per cent control the environment,” Kitkas explained.

“We can control what people do when they come in, we can control where people go in the facility, we can control the equipment that they use.”

The gym might even be able to open its doors sooner. Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, talked about the possibility during a Facebook live townhall with Premier Jason Kenney and some of his cabinet ministers on Wednesday.

READ MORE: The gym will be one of the toughest spaces to reopen, experts say

The Alberta relaunch plan has gyms opening in Stage 3, however, Hinshaw said she’s received many requests to reconsider.

“That will be something that my team at the ministry is looking at right now, and something that we’ll be bringing forward to the emergency management cabinet committee for consideration in an alternate stage, if possible,” she said.

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Although reopening looks different for every facility, especially bigger spaces like the YMCA which has many more amenities and more than 10,000 members.

“There’s going to be rules around how we operate the pool,” said Ross Jacobs, the communications director for the YMCA in Lethbridge.

“There’s going to be rules around how we operate fitness floor, and I think it’s going to be a real challenge for us to find a happy medium… that allows us to operate a business.”

He added that the gym will have to strictly monitor the floors and have serious cleaning procedures in place that are completed on a regular basis.

Jacobs said the Y already goes above and beyond typical health and safety procedures and he’s sure the gym will be able to effectively enforce any restrictions once it receives directives from the government.

-With files from Global News’ Nicole Stillger

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