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Gym Owners Prepared as Governor Allows Reopening

Chris Bolt

The owner of 2 local fitness clubs says people are coming through the doors and getting reacquainted with safety protocols after being closed for about five months. Governor Andrew Cuomo's order allowed gyms and fitness centers to begin reopening Monday, and local officials have been allowed to further delay reopening until September 2nd.

Although, Randy Sabourin of Metro Fitness says there is only a heightened sense of disinfectants and social distancing requirements because of COVID-19 because always took measures to cleanse surfaces and protect members. The real threat to your health, he says, is if you don’t exercise and maintain proper nutrition.

“There’s certainly many reasons why exercise can reduce your risk for a variety of illnesses and if you were to be afflicted with COVID, it would not impact you as severely as if you had not been taking care of yourself.”

He says underlying diseases is somewhat self-inflicted and much of that is behavior and how active a person is or not, and those fitness options were taken away when gyms closed.  The state requires that all fitness club members must wear masks.  Sabourin says there has been some pushback and trainers are adjusting the pace of workouts because breathing is somewhat restricted now.  But, there are some exceptions, depending on a person’s health.

“We have clients with medical conditions and they have been speaking with their doctors, but according to the mandate the only option is a (face) shield as opposed to a mask. We have a few that are looking at that as an option so they can breathe a little more comfortably and still protect themselves and their fellow members,” Sabourin said.

Metro Fitness takes members’ temperatures as part of a health screening when they arrive. Sabourin has already seen an increase in personalized training clients. He thinks people are drawn to their gyms because the client to customer ratio is much smaller than the larger workout chains with more people.

Similarly, Syracuse University has reopened two of its gyms on campus. The Barnes Center at the Arch, which opened last fall, is reopened with social distancing restrictions as well as a satellite gym in Ernie Davis Hall. Other satellite gyms remain closed on the campus. Masks are required at all times on campus, including inside the gyms.