Coach Kyle Dexter wipes dumbbells at a Planet Fitness gym in North Raleigh. Planet Fitness is reopening some gyms in North Carolina this week, despite a coronavirus executive order that keeps gyms closed.

[email protected]

As the number of reported COVID-19 cases in Mecklenburg County continues to rise, gymnasiums in the area say they are aiming to protect their clients from the threat of the omicron variant.

Planet Fitness, a chain that operates nine gyms in the Charlotte area, recently became the first fitness brand to receive the award WELL Health and Safety Assessment for their protocols supporting the health and safety needs of employees and members.

“What we’re seeing on our sites is really a resurgence of people coming back to the gym,” said Scott Breault, vice president of marketing for Sunshine Fitness, a franchisee of Planet Fitness, noting that the recordings at one hour the location for the first Monday in 2022 was 90% higher than a year ago. “We are almost doubling the number of people entering clubs, so obviously we’re happy with those numbers. ”

Breault attributed the revival of fitness centers to a combination of safety in gyms and the desire to stay active.

“The pandemic has been restrictive for so many people,” said Breault. “I think people are ready to come back and improve their well-being and their mental health, and there are many studies that show the positive effect of regular exercise on mental well-being.”

Ensure the safety of members

Planet Fitness follows local guidelines, said Breault, including the warrant mask in Mecklenburg County, social distancing and cleansing protocols.

“Each employee is assigned a certain part of the club to make sure it is clean and sanitized,” said Breault. “They do 20 minute tours to make sure the club is clean and that there are plenty of cleaning supplies for members to use.”

Since the typical Planet Fitness location in the Charlotte area has around 90 cardio equipment, there is plenty of room to spread out, so the limbs don’t come into close contact with each other. the rest, Breault said.

Members can also use the crowd measurement tool on Planet Fitness application to track the number of people inside an establishment at a given time.

Here’s a look at what other fitness centers in the area are doing to curb the spread of COVID-19.

YMCA of Grand Charlotte

In accordance with Mecklenburg County policy, all members visiting a YMCA branch in the county are required to wear a mask indoors. Face covering is also required in child care or indoor youth programs. Masks are not compulsory for outdoor groups of young people.

The YMCA has also expanded its offering to include indoor fitness and group exercise, as well as outdoor group exercise classes.

In addition to masks, the YMCA implemented strict cleaning protocols, created stations for hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes, and focused on “non-contact” or “low-contact” interactions, according to their website.

Get back in shape anytime

Anytime Fitness has strict capacity limits on its franchises across the country, depending on their website, last updated in 2020.

The fitness chain also adheres to social distancing guidelines and provides medical-grade cleaning products and hand sanitizers to all of its facilities. Gyms are also cleaned at least every two hours.

Lifelong fitness

In what they call a ‘commitment to cleanup’, Lifelong fitness details a comprehensive approach to the pandemic, which includes deep cleanings of highly tactile surfaces, self-cleaning stations for equipment, and the addition of more outdoor classes to enable social distancing.

To improve ventilation, the chain has also increased air circulation in its HVAC systems, “bringing in more outside air to help further improve overall indoor air quality,” their website explains.

Fitness Connection

Masks are mandatory at all Fitness Connection locations in the Charlotte area and for adults at all locations within a designated children’s area, according to its website. Cleaning protocols have also been put in place.

Related stories from Charlotte Observer