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Coronavirus: Reopening of gyms, workout facilities in London, Ont., in Stage 3

crossfit london gym
Dave Henry, the owner and head coach of CrossFit London, told 980 CFPL Friday they've been keeping up with workout classes virtually as well, and are now ready to reopen in-person. Sawyer Bogdan/980 CFPL

Now that the region has officially moved into Ontario’s Stage 3 of the novel coronavirus reopening plan as of Friday, gyms across London-Middlesex are picking up the pace when it comes to reopening safely.

Stage 3 allows for such facilities to reopen, along with casinos, movie theatres and restaurants to serve indoors.

Randi Diaz, the manager of Forest City Fitness in London, spoke with 980 CFPL’s Devon Peacock on The Morning Show Friday.

Read more: Temperature checks, masks, small classes: How gyms are reopening in Ontario

She says the gym is ready to reopen for clients in-person, but with a few changes.

“For the first week, we will have members booked-in, and we’ll also shut down periodically throughout the day for designated cleaning times where we clean all of the equipment again before the next group of work-outs begin.”

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Prior to the start of Stage 3, Diaz says the gym has kept up with clients through online training, which is set to continue.

Read more: Ontario reopening Stage 3: Gathering limit increasing as indoor dining, gyms permitted to reopen

“Because of the restrictions, we’re not going to be able to have our regular class schedule, so there may be some that want to do the outdoor classes and we can have bigger groups, but then there’s going to be some that want their yoga classes and we can’t do that in the studio.”

Forest City Fitness has been in business for five years, and the manager says it was a challenge in March to try and accommodate as many clients as possible.

Some decided to pay for their membership and use it as credit once the gym reopens, others turned to online training sessions.

Read more: Coronavirus: London gyms and theatres ready for Stage 3 reopening

“Part of working out isn’t just the physical aspect, it’s also the mental aspect so we want to accommodate as many people as possible.

“When an emergency hits, your base is your membership that’s collected on a monthly basis and personal training, and when those stop and you still have your overhead (such as) your lease, equipment and hydro, it adds up pretty quickly,” Diaz said when commenting on the financial struggles the gym has faced.

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“We’ve made it out of this, and we’re happy to open, (but) we’ve lost some members, and we’re going to really have to work hard to built back up that comfortable place that we were before COVID-19.”

Click to play video 'Most regions of Ontario enter in Stage 3 Friday amid COVID-19 pandemic' Most regions of Ontario enter in Stage 3 Friday amid COVID-19 pandemic
Most regions of Ontario enter in Stage 3 Friday amid COVID-19 pandemic

Dave Henry, the owner and head coach of CrossFit London, told 980 CFPL Friday they’ve been keeping up with workout classes virtually as well, and are now ready to reopen in-person.

Henry says class sizes have dropped to a maximum of nine athletes and one coach per group to keep everyone at least 15 feet apart in order to physically distance as well as provide members with enough space to feel comfortable.

“We have an app (to help) everyone book in advance, and that limits the class size.”

Outdoor workout sessions will be contact-free with training on the spot, “so we make a square for every person, and everyone gets their own equipment.”

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Read more: The New Reality: The uncertain future of fitness studios

“Anything they’ve touched stays in their box until the end, and then we (clean) that and put it away,” Henry explained.

“We’ve been using the same disinfectants for cleaning for more than 10 years now, but all we’re changing is the frequency of how often we clean.”

On Friday, Dr. Chris Mackie, the region’s chief medical officer of health, issued a mandatory face-covering policy that begins as of 12:01 a.m. Saturday.

Mackie said face coverings will be mandatory in indoor, enclosed public spaces in the region in an effort to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Read more: The gym will be one of the toughest spaces to reopen, experts say

Henry says he’s unsure whether such coverings are mandatory inside gyms, but if so, the owner says he’d consider cancelling all indoor classes.

“I would have to think about whether I just want to (host classes) outside again, or keep going inside with the masks.”

“There’s definitely risks with wearing a mask and training with breathing.”

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-With files from 980 CFPL’s Sawyer Bodgan