COVID-19 Protocols: The Hardest Weight to Lift for the Fitness Industry
By: Paul Manno Lindenhurst, N.Y.-
COVID-19 severely impacted the fitness industry and has forced gyms to change their rules and regulations. Gyms had to enforce these policies in order to keep their members and staff safe while working out. Some of these rules include wearing a mask, wiping down machines, and maintaining social distancing while using the gym facility.
As a result of the COVID-19 lockdown, Lindenhurst resident Eric Geyer was one of many people who decided to buy gym equipment for his house so he can stay fit during the pandemic.
“Well the gym was not open the same time it was before the pandemic and it was hard for me to work around my schedule. Being able to workout at home, I can do it whenever I want and it doesn’t really affect my schedule so it’s just easier for me. I also don’t have to physically go there which takes up more of my time, so it’s just way better working out at my house,” Geyer said.
Geyer was a former gym member for Blink Fitness before the pandemic started and immediately cancelled his membership after he bought equipment. He prefers to workout in his bedroom rather than a facility with multiple machines.
“I’d definitely rather workout at home because the way you have to clean everything and clean each machine you use takes up a lot of time. By the time I clean all the equipment I lose my pump because it’s not a continuous exercise. Also you can’t be around people when they’re on machines because of social distancing. The masks make it hard for breathing because you’re like gasping for air and you can’t really breathe through the masks during a workout,” Geyer said.
Although gym equipment is expensive, it was well worth every penny for Geyer. Rather than spending a monthly membership fee at a gym, he bought dumbbell weights, a bar with weighted plates and a bench to continue exercising at home.
“In the long run it’s worth it to buy equipment. If you plan on working out for a long time, buying a couple hundred dollars worth of workout equipment will cost you the same amount as a membership at a gym over a few months. At that point you could basically workout at your house for free and especially during the pandemic, you don’t have to be right on top of people,” Geyer said.
One of the many gyms that was severely affected by the pandemic was the SERC fitness center. This gym facility on SUNY Brockport’s campus had to change its layout and adapt to the new regulations that were mandated by NYS in order to reopen and keep its members safe.
Sydney Trabold, a current employee at the SERC says it’s been a difficult transition to change the layout of the gym and enforce new rules. Open to students and residents of Brockport, many continue to still use their facility to keep in shape.
“We’ve had to limit capacity like the amount of people we let in here. We had to get rid of a lot of equipment and spread the machines out. Basically we had to change the whole layout of the gym, so we can follow the social distancing rules,” Trabold said.
On March 16th, 2020, Gov. Andrew Cuomo mandated a statewide shutdown of all non essential businesses, one being gyms. Yet, as COVID-19 cases have continued to trend downwards over the past year, many gyms have been able to reopen safely for their members.
Even though gyms may have changed their layouts and enforced new rules that some members may not agree with, Trabold still believes it’s safe for people to do their workouts.
“It’s definitely safe to go here. We shut down for an hour everyday just to clean. Everybody basically knows they have to wipe the machines down after they use it and I personally see a lot of people doing that. It’s just a part of the new normal,” Trabold said.
It is still unknown when the pandemic will end, but gym facilities like the SERC hope to continue lifting their rules and regulations. For more information visit their website.