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Are Gyms Safe Again? | Deep Dives | Health

(suspenseful music) – [Narrator] Gyms maystart reopening soon, after weeks of shutdown due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

But will it be safe to go back? (suspenseful music) During a coronavirustask force news briefing on April 16th, President Trump revealed a three-phase plan foropening up America again.

And gyms, along with restaurants, sporting venues, and places of worship were on the list ofnon-essential businesses given the green lightto reopen in phase one.

But whether or not youshould sweat in a studio or a gym remains up for debate.

(booming echo) (upbeat music) One major factor is thatthere's no set consensus on when it's safe to reopen.

In states, cities, and even counties are making their owndecisions with or without the okay from public healthand infectious disease experts.

And an open gym doesn'tnecessarily equal a safe gym.

After all, there's also no set protocol on what gym owners shoulddo to keep everyone safe.

This is Meredith Poppler, she works for IHRSA.

A not-for-profit representing health and fitness facilitiesall over the country.

– We think it's soimportant that gyms open in phase one or at thegovernors discretion, but early in the process.

We truly believe thathealth clubs are essential to the communities' health.

We, as the trade associationfor the industry, have provided our gymowners with questions on both safety and operations.

These are questions like, how far are you going tohave to move equipment away from each other? How many pieces of cardio equipment will you have to unplugto keep six feet away? What are you going to be doing to ensure that your staff maintainsthey're area of the club, to make sure that whatever is touched is appropriately cleaned and disinfected? There's a long list of questions.

(pulsating beat music) (suspenseful music) – [Narrator] The good news, while how closely your gymstays on top of cleaning is up to the owner andyour fellow gym goers, many gyms do have safety top of mind, and have been planning for reopening ever since they closed down.

Take Lifetime, a companywith over 150 locations around the country.

They've created a 53 page reopening plan, which includes increasingthe frequency of cleaning, offering more disinfectantproducts to clients, limiting how many clients can be inside the building and at classes, using signs and markers topromote social distancing rules, spacing out weight machines, only allowing the use ofevery other cardio machine and locker in locker rooms, and temperature checksand face masks for staff.

Fitness studio company ClassPass, which has over 30, 000partners in 30 countries, also says they'll reopenclasses on the platform as soon as gyms say they're ready, likely with reduced capacity.

Of course, despitewell-intentioned efforts, public health officials still stress that returning to thegym could still be risky.

– I think decisions aboutwhether to return to the gym, or whether to return to thefitness center or health clubs, muck like even returning to work, all have to be taken on a case by case or really specific basis.

I think one of the most important things to think about is reallythat this virus can live on all different types of surfaces, sometimes for long periods of time, whether that be metal or vinyl.

And so, with this in mind, it's gonna be importantto really sanitize.

I think if we are preparedto accept the risk that we might be takingby coming into contact with people who may have this virus and may not show symptoms, or we're coming into contactwith a lot of high-frequency surfaces that are often touched.

And if we're not reallyprepared to really take steps that of course will change our routines, then I think we might wanna consider that maybe now is not thebest time for us to come into contact with those things, or to go to gyms really.

(somber music) (soft music) – [Narrator] Sill considering returning? Here's what to keep in mind.

First, don't go back ifyou don't feel confident in a gym's cleanliness.

And don't be afraid to call ahead and ask what your gym is doing to curb the spread of coronavirus.

When you do go in, rememberthese important pointers.

Wash or sanitize yourhands as often as possible.

Don't touch your face.

Wear a face mask.

Keep at least six feetbetween you and other people.

Wipe down equipment beforeand after you use it and if you can, pack your own wipes so you'll always have them on hand.

Otherwise, virtual classesseem to be here to stay.

Lifetime is streamingmultiple free classes online from yoga to strength training.

The YMCA is sharing on-demand videos on their new YMCA 360 platform.

And many studios and gyms, like Barry's and CorePower Yogaare hosting virtual classes.

And those are just some of your options.

So if you're feeling iffy, know that there are ways tosweat, no face mask necessary.

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