By: Anne Geggis
Soon, residents will no longer be able to blame coronavirus for avoiding the gym: big workout facilities such as LA Fitness and Planet Fitness will be allowed to re-open Tuesday as the economic recovery from the outbreak of COVID-19 continues.
The county’s beaches will also be open again Tuesday, along with hotels, motels, and other commercial lodging facilities, according to a new order that Bertha Henry, county administrator, released Friday.
It’s the third round of re-openings since government orders shut down all businesses deemed “nonessential” two months ago as part of an effort to stem the spread of the virus. With no vaccination or known cure, the only defense against COVID-19 is to avoid the infected.
Monday, stores, salons, and all but a few businesses that serve the public were given the green light to re-open. On Thursday, offices were given the go-ahead.
The latest slew of re-openings was planned for Tuesday to avoid the crush that might come Memorial Day weekend, said County Commissioner Lamar Fisher.
Other large-scale venues, like the casinos, remain closed, however.
Still, your gym might not be ready to open its doors, even if they are allowed to.
Callers to both LA Fitness and Planet Fitness facilities in Coral Springs and Tamarac on Saturday heard phone recordings that did not include a re-opening date.
LA Fitness’ corporate website promised an opening date to be announced, but no further details.
Coral Springs’ city officials put out a release Saturday laying out city guidelines for how gyms will be required to exercise caution when doors open again. Including:
- Patrons will have their temperature checked at the door: No patrons or employees with a body temperature of more than 100.1 Fahrenheit will be allowed in.
- Gym employees are required to wear facial coverings. Patrons will be asked to do the same, except when they are exercising or cooling down from exercise.
- Each piece of work-out equipment must be adequately distanced from other work-out equipment.
Coral Springs resident Rosemarie Léger-Brickman, who leads exercise classes at LA Fitness facilities in both Coconut Creek and Coral Springs, said she’s heard that equipment might be spaced out in basketball courts.
But she’s heard from plenty of her regulars that they are not ready to go back to the gym.
“If you feel that you are in a compromised state of health, wait a little bit longer,” she said. “Let them work the kinks out of it. We’re going to ease back into it.”
Léger-Brickman has been leading Facebook Live classes on her page, Rose’s Workout and Fitness Group, during the shutdown and loved mixing up her routines, she said. She’s been getting participants in far-flung parts of the country and even some overseas.
But there’s no substitute for being in front of the class, live and in person.
“I love my gyms,” she said. “I love interacting with people, feeling the energy in the room. The openings will be really good.”
But, she’s not sure how wearing a face mask will work with jumping jacks, lunges, and planks as she’s heard that fitness instructors in Palm Beach County have been required to do.
“It is going to get wet. It’s going to get soggy. It’s going to be falling down,” said Léger-Brickman. “I don’t know how that’s going to work.”
Amy Barr Weissman, a fitness class regular, said she’s going to wait a little bit before hitting the gym again. She’s concerned about whether others will be practicing social distancing — staying the recommended six feet away.
“I need to see how everyone is behaving when everyone is out there,” she said.
But Sarah Demauro of Coral Springs feels absolutely fine about everything that’s been opened. She’s been out to eat several times and would feel confident going to a gym, especially since Gov. Ron DeSantis has endorsed the re-openings.
“At the end of the day, everyone has to make their own choices,” she said.
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- Anne Geggis has been a newspaper reporter for 30 years, most recently at the Sun Sentinel. She graduated from St. Michael’s College in Colchester, Vt., with a double major in journalism and sociology.
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