Some Laramie gyms have reopened recently following relaxed shutdown orders, but some are taking things more slowly. All must adhere to 19 restrictions and requirements specified in Governor Mark Gordon’s public health order regarding gymnasiums.
“We’ve been given what I would call a yellow light, it’s not quite yet a green light,” said Nicole Bleak, coach and co-owner of Crossfit 7220, which closed itself down ahead of the blanket shutdown order for gyms. “We’ve had many discussions on whether or not it’s still best to stay closed, but given the current trends that we’re seeing in our area with the virus we’ve decided to take our foot off the brake a bit and try moving forward — knowing that the red light might come on again at any time.”
Some of the new stipulations for reopening are in common with other familiar rules and recommendations from recent times, such as the wearing of masks for staff that come within 6 feet of patrons or one another, while others are more flexible given the varied sizes of gyms — rather than a flat limit of 10 people in a room, gyms’ occupants are capped at “1 person per 120 square feet.” (A dorm room at UW is 168 square feet). Physical distancing between individuals is still emphasized.
To help manage occupancy and assist with contact tracing, gyms such as Crossfit 7220 are plotting out structured sessions that patrons need to sign up for in advance.
“All of the access currently is during these structured sessions, and every athlete and staff is logged in during their visit,” said Mike Dorssom, also a coach and co-owner. “It’s not going to be exactly like it was before, but it’s going to be a lot better than working out by yourself in the basement.”
Crossfit 7220 is utilizing an increased online presence to schedule these sessions and stay engaged with its patrons through podcasts and updates.
“We’ve had to, like many small businesses, reinvent our business and do things online and make sure things were running smoothly that way,” Bleak said.
Other gyms still have yet to reopen — national gym chain Planet Fitness is working with its franchises to adapt to local circumstances. Laramie’s location is set to reopen Friday, and the company is encouraging patrons to use its app for no-contact check-ins and to “Be Cleansiderate.”
Altitude Fitness is another location that’s taking things slow and steady — in part because the space is also used for physical therapy patients in tandem with the Spine and Injury Clinic of Laramie.
“With everything going on in the world right now, you really have to make sure you’re doing everything properly and safely — a gym is definitely one of those places,” said Dylan Milam, a doctor of chiropractic at Spine and Injury Clinic of Laramie and co-owner of Altitude Fitness. “We’re working on putting all the proper measures in place to ensure the safety of our members. … we don’t have an exact date yet, but we’re thinking here in the next week or two for sure.”
Milam’s gym is also preparing no-contact check-ins and systems to track equipment use and scheduling, as well as reorganizing the facility to stay in line with physical distancing requirements. Other expectations are old news for the staff.
“We’ve actually always prided ourselves on our cleaning and sanitization procedures anyway,” Milam said. “We have hospital-grade cleaning and sanitization stuff that we’ve used all along.”
Spas and saunas must remain closed for the time being; movie theaters and restaurants have also been given a “yellow light” to reopen in a limited capacity Friday.