Tuesday 2 June, 2020

Express Fitness ready to reopen gyms

Ready or not, gyms will be reopening all over Jamaica as persons, fatigued by the several weeks of lockdown measures, are looking to 'buss a sweat' and shed those extra 'quarantine pounds'.

Loop Jamaica reporter Claude Mills reached out to Candice Kerr, CEO of Express Fitness Limited to ask about some of the measures being taken to ensure the safety of the public once their establishment reopens soon.

Express Fitness is a locally owned and operated fitness club, which focuses on providing a first world fitness facility at a price you can afford. The fitness club provides state of the art equipment in a clean, convenient and safe environment, and is open 24 hours a day for the public's convenience.

File photo of Express Fitness' location at 14 Ocean Boulevard, downtown Kingston

Loop: What precautions are being taken to ensure the safety of gym members?

Kerr: A number of measures have been taken, including:

  • Having hands sanitized with alcohol-based sanitizer spray upon entry
  • Enforcing the use of a mask while at the facility
  • Providing ‘Safe Zones’ demarked by neon-coloured tape for individual workout with free weights and smaller equipment (only one person at a time within a Safe Zone)
  • Ramping up available equipment sanitation stations so members have easy access to disinfecting solutions
  • Reinforcing rules around sanitizing equipment before and after use
  • Reinforcing rules around brining a towel for use on benches
  • Ramping up hand sanitizer stations around each facility
  • Having cleaning personnel on hand for the duration of our opening hours to conduct hourly sanitation of equipment and regular sanitization of door handles, counters, lockers, etc.
  • Removing gym-provided workout mats until further notice
  • Suspending vending of beverages until further notice to prevent hand-to-hand interaction
  • Encouraging members to carry their own hydration
  • Closing access to showers, saunas and steam rooms until further notice
  • Most importantly, encouraging members to stay at home if they have any symptoms or if they feel generally unwell

iStock photo

Loop: How often will high-touch surfaces including doorknobs, light switches, lockers, sinks, etc. be disinfected?

Kerr: Our primary high-touch surfaces are lockers and bathroom areas, all of which are sanitized after each use. Lighting is motion sensor-driven so no need to touch switches to turn them on or off. TV remotes are kept with the customer service team and not left out for members to use individually.

Loop: Will members be required to wear a mask while inside the club? And are masks recommended but not required for members?

Kerr: We have put the measure of requiring masks in place in accordance with the Disaster Risk Management Act, which stipulates that masks must be worn in public places, especially in community settings where you may be near people. It is one of our measures to keep our members and staff safe.

Especially if members haven't worked out in a long time, we recommend that they monitor the intensity of their workout and keep it on the low to moderate side to avoid symptoms like dizziness and fainting. They are also encouraged to take breaks, hydrate and moderate their workouts. If any member feels that they may be at risk due to cardiovascular or respiratory conditions, we recommend that they consult with their doctor before working out in a mask.

Gym users will be required to bring their own hydration products, as vending at Express Fitness will be discontinued. iStock photo

Loop: Will workers have their temperature checked before their shift?

Kerr: We are in the process of distributing thermometers for use with both team members and customers. We understand that, while people with a normal temperature could still be asymptomatic, this is an additional measure that rules out exposure to one of the primary symptoms of COVID-19.

Loop: Will cardio equipment be removed to create space and then alternated daily to practice social distancing?

Kerr: Spacing has been created between equipment so members can only use every other cardio machine. Unavailable machines are marked with neon-coloured tape.

Loop: Will showers, saunas, and steam rooms be unavailable during the phased reopening?

Kerr: Showers, saunas and stream rooms are temporarily unavailable until further notice.

As an added note, we’re doing our part to help to resurge the country’s economic activity, while being smart and deliberate in how we go about it. We understand that some of our members will be apprehensive about returning to the gym, so we have extended a Free Week Promo which will give everyone the chance to evaluate the environment and decide whether they feel assured enough about their safety to sign up, renew or unfreeze their existing memberships.

As you return to gyms to renew the 'Battle of the Bulge', please keep in mind that rigorous exercise in packed fitness facilities could increase the risk of contracting the coronavirus, according to a new study published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s peer-reviewed journal.

The study suggested that large class sizes, small spaces and intense workouts may lead to increased transmission because the turbulent airflow caused by energetic exercise can combine with the warm, moist atmosphere of sports facilities to cause more dense transmission of droplets.



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