Montreal fitness centres in red zones reopened their doors Friday morning with large fanfare as gymgoers are eager to get back into shape.
Econofitness gym in Laval’s Place Bell saw members line up at the door for the big return.
The North Shore centre has already 400 people register to train on the first day back after being shut down for nearly six months.
“I’m really happy. I’ve been waiting for this; now I can finally get back to the real grind,” gym member Selima Guidara said.
A practising volleyball athlete, Guidara says she has been champing at the bit to get back in the gym to lift “real weights” and train.
Fitness fanatics will be walking into a very familiar environment compared to the previous reopening amid COVID-19.
“This reopening is very similar to the one we had in June. The measures are similar,” said Renaud Beaudry, Econofitness vice-president.
Strict sanitary measures are in place to ensure public safety. Masks are required at all times when on the floor.
Members will be permitted to remove their face covering while exercising on cardio machines.
People are asked to frequently wash their hands and sanitize the equipment after use, all while respecting physical distance.
“We increased the number of employees in the club to make sure the measures are respected by the members and to clean and sanitize the equipment very often,” Beaudry said.
With concern over the new COVID-19 variants and the possibility of a third wave, fitness companies are hoping to avoid another forced shutdown.
“If the gyms were to close again we think the government needs to put money on the table to help us survive the crisis. But we really think the gyms need to stay open,” Beaudry said.
Variants are also weighing heavily on the minds of gymgoers Global News spoke with, but many say they feel comfortable and safe working out in gyms.
“Gyms are a place to improve your health and I think this is a big morale booster,” Sam Urving said.
“So far everything seems to be going according to plan and everyone is being careful.”
Friday’s gym openings will not necessarily translate to profitability.
If there are no new closures, it will take about six months for the company to get back on its feet, Beaudry said.
—With files from The Canadian Press