Gym owners readying for reopening as Phase 3 set to begin

GRAFTON, Mass. — As Massachusetts prepares to enter Phase 3 of the state’s reopening plan on July 6, gym owners did last-minute preparations Sunday.

At Anytime Fitness in Grafton, owner Ed O’Toole checked sanitization stations and made sure all new signage was in place.

“To be quite honest, we couldn’t be more excited,” he told Boston 25 News. “It’s been a very long 15 weeks.”

O’Toole said he was excited to welcome members back in, but that there would be new safety precautions people would need to follow.

For example, masks would be required at each workout station unless a person was running or doing a strenuous exercise.

“If folks are moving from let’s say the cardio pieces to the free weight area, we’re asking that they put their mask on,” he explained.

O’Toole and his wife also made plexiglass dividers to place in between each treadmill, with every other machine shut down for social distancing.

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“This is going to give people a good eight feet,” he said. “The requirement was six feet with a barrier, but we went a little bit further just to make sure people felt really comfortable.”

Sanitization stations were also set up around the gym. Guests must wipe down equipment twice when using it; once before and once after they’re done. He added that, during busy hours, staff would be on-hand to help.

“Every half hour or so, we’re going to be going around any high-touch areas – doorknobs, switches, any of the cardio pieces, free weights – we’re going to be going through and wiping those down as well,” he said.

Exercise machines were also moved around.

“It took a lot of time and thinking about how do we separate it, how do we angle it, how do we move it to create the partitions that we were looking for so when folks are doing their workouts, they’re not facing each other or breathing on each other, things of that nature,” O’Toole said.

As for crowd control, O’Toole told Boston 25 News that the gym has roughly 1,200 members, but that normally no more than a dozen or so people tend to workout at one time.

Still, he said he would monitor the number of people swiping in at once.

“I hope they feel comfortable coming in and enjoying what we’ve done for them,” he said. “We’re thankful to be open tomorrow and we’re looking forward to it.”

Anytime Fitness in Grafton opens at 6 a.m. on July 6, but gym owners across the Commonwealth are making individual decisions about when to open their doors.

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