How Are Gyms Reopening?


Raul Roa

As Phase 3 Step 2 of the reopening plan begins, gyms begin to open with the requirement of masks.

By Julia Sax (IV), Contributing Writer

As vaccines start to roll out and we get closer and closer to normalcy, industries are starting to reopen. One of these industries is gyms, which are part of the third phase in Massachusetts’s reopening plan. On March 1, COVID-19 cases started to see a decline, which allowed gyms to open after months of inconsistent operating hours.

There are, of course, guidelines in place to ensure the safety of their customers and employees. Face coverings will be required, along with

distancing of six feet between people at all times. There will be capacity limitations, which have recently increased from 40 percent to 50 percent, and break times scattered throughout the operating hours for workers to wash their hands and sanitize equipment.

Most facilities have adopted an appointment system with timed blocks for equipment, and customers can reserve spots on the gym’s mobile app or website. Along with increased sanitization of equipment, gym-goers are usually required to fill out a COVID-19 questionnaire upon entering the facility and have their temperatures checked before they can work out.

Gym owners, such as Mark Rowe, are excited to see their businesses finally being welcomed back and hope it will stay this way. Back in December, Rowe was disappointed after hearing that he was forced to close down his gym because “the data didn’t support shutting [them] down.”

In an interview with the Boston Herald, Mark Harrington, president of Healthworks and Republic Fitness, says “[he is] happy to operate his gyms under those restrictions” after seeing that he will be able to give

his employees some reassurance and his members some much-needed workouts. Many gyms, such as the Planet Fitness branch in Dorchester, are very large (20,000 square feet), which makes “social distancing a breeze,” as Planet Fitness Regional Manager Steve Lombardi puts it.

Through Governor Charlie Baker, the curfew put on businesses has also been lifted, as Massachusetts has seen an overall decrease in daily cases. Previously, the curfew mandated that everyone be home and businesses close at 9:30 P.M. unless businesses being open and people remaining on the streets was necessary.

Even with gyms being allowed to reopen, many health professionals recommend steering clear of these indoor gyms to eliminate high-risk situations in which employees and customers can be affected. They recommend getting warm clothes and going out for a walk or run instead of using indoor workout machines, with other gym-goers being just meters away from you. Although these recommendations are valid, many still intend to return to their gyms in hopes of regaining a shred of normality.

As restaurants, movie theaters, museums and gyms now reopen, can we expect to see students on the sidelines of Boston Latin School sports games? It’s all about herd immunity. While we are on the right track to living an ordinary life once again, we aren’t completely there yet. With the help of citizens adhering to COVID-19 guidelines and the push for more vaccinations, Massachusetts can continue to gradually withdraw more and more restrictions until we can go back to our daily lives.