Coronavirus weighing heavy on fitness industry, local gyms

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CLAY COUNTY – For the time being, workouts will be moved out of the gym and into the home as a result of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ order last Friday to close down all workout facilities.

Without word of how long COVID-19 could last, getting into shape and improving the capabilities of one’s health might sound more appealing than ever right now. Workouts could soon be conducted through YouTube, and group workouts are already a thing of the past for now. The biggest concern about the coronavirus is keeping things sanitized. The few gyms that are open are drastically increasing the frequency of cleanings.

“We always pride ourselves on having the cleanest facilities in town,” Clay and Duval County Regional Workout Anytime owner Blake Odom said. “However, since the news broke, we have ramped up our cleaning efforts.”

Odom said the gym urged members to be more vigilant in wiping down equipment after use – something the gym already asks its members to do. He said staff were going behind members and completely sanitizing the entire piece of equipment. A member may wipe down the parts of the dumbbell their hand touched, but a Workout Anytime employee followed by wiping down the entire dumbbell.

Apparently, that wasn’t enough.

“We were also sanitizing door handles, restroom stalls, toilets, shower handles, counters, door jams and any other areas that are commonly touched every hour,” Odom said. “At the end of each day, we went through the entire club and do a deep clean. We are committed to keeping up this regiment until we have been made confident this virus is no longer a threat.”

Odom said he noticed a slight decline in member usage but has seen a number of new faces signing up for memberships, presumably after other gyms in the area temporarily closed their doors. Now all gyms are closed.

Some of those new signups came from LA Fitness and Planet Fitness members after their respective gyms closed their doors early in the virus’ outbreak. Both closed last week and are not expected to open again this month.

Planet Fitness is ensuring its members still get a workout, though. Workouts with certified trainers will be livestreamed on the company’s Facebook page every day at 7 p.m. The company said the workouts are available to everyone, not just members. For those that can’t catch the live stream, the workouts will be available on-demand on the Planet Fitness YouTube channel.

LA Fitness has online workouts available as well and they can be viewed through the gym’s app. Both YMCA locations in Clay County are currently closed as well, but like LA Fitness and Planet Fitness, the YMCA is offering live online fitness classes as well as on-demand exercise videos.

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