Pump Up the Hand Sanatizer

How people are getting through new regulations at fitness centers.

Melia Rasmussen, Sports Editor

Linn County was approved to open for Phase 1 on May 15 of this year, allowing personal services with distancing regulations, indoor gathers with a maximum of 10 people, and cultural or religion gathers outdoors capped at 50 people. In this phase, fitness centers had been allowed to unlock their doors and allow their members to exercise again. But not without some changes on how people are allowed to work out.

     “In preparation for the restrictions that were set in place, staff went through… and taped off half of the cardio equipment so that it was unusable,” the previous co-owner of Anytime Fitness, Dawn Davis, said. Having ran Anytime Fitness for more than 15 years prior to selling it in September, Davis knew people went to the gym as an outlet and a way to cope with stress in life. With that in mind, she and her husband pushed to stay open as long as they could until they and other nonessential businesses were forced to shut down on March 24. Davis said she remotely went into their system to shut down their center, as the clock read a literal minute past midnight on that Tuesday.

     Davis said that a majority of their members started coming back within the next few months once they were allowed to reopen. Under Governor Brown and the Oregon Health Authority, new regulations included having to wear a face mask at all times, more pressure on sanitizing equipment after using them, and being unable to use the locker room showers. 

     “We had a guest visitor come up from the state of California…and go use the shower, even though we indicated not to do so,” Davis said, “So after that happened, we literally removed showerheads and capped off the piping so that it was not possible to shower.”

     The biggest rule that members complained about is the requirement for masks while exercising. Though an employee built barriers to try and block off the cardio machines from its neighbor, it’s still not enough for the state law to allow. 

     “You know, every once in a while, there’s people who try to put their mask below their nose. For the most part I think everyone does a really good job in remembering [the rules],” high school junior Kinzie Cluver said. Deciding to go to the gym during COVID wasn’t a big debate, Cluver said, and since she wore a mask in cheer practice, wearing a mask at Physique Fitness wasn’t anything new.

     Cluver said that when checking in, the staff will ask for any flu-like symptoms and to fill out a waiver. Disinfectant spray bottles and paper towel dispensers are set up around the gym, to use to clean off the equipment before and after use. 

     “I think [restrictions] are pretty easy actually, because it’s just wearing a mask and wiping everything down,” Cluver said. Linn County was allowed to reopen for Phase 2 on June 15 after the 21 days in Phase 2 and specific requirements of one hundred cases per one hundred-thousand people. But as of Nov. 18, Governor Brown issued a two-week freeze on Oregon, suspending certain businesses from operating due to an increasing number of cases. While for the safety of the people, this has set facilities like gyms that were slowly crawling out of their shell, back into shadows, and hopefully they’ll be able to climb out again.