It’s been 95 long days since the treadmills and weight benches of Chicago’s fitness centers fell silent thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. But this Friday, gyms in Illinois will be allowed to reopen and welcome back the fitness faithful with open — and well-toned — arms.
At Power Fitness in the Roseland neighborhood on the South Side, owners Jimmie and Kisha Williams say their clientele is anxious to get back into the boot camp, martial arts and cardio boxing classes they offer. In addition to marking spacing around equipment, they’re doing temperature checks at the door and sanitizing the rooms after every class. Once a week, an EPA-certified company will do a deep cleaning. Classes are being held at 25% capacity, so the Williamses are adding more classes to the schedule to allow more members to attend. For the time being, wearing a mask is mandatory in common areas.
“Staff will wear masks for the entire time. Once the participant comes in and gets settled they can take their mask off if they want to once they’re in their stations, but if they’re moving about the gym they will have to put their mask back on,” said Kisha Williams.
At the Retro Fitness franchise in the Irving Park neighborhood, general manager Harold Coleman says that in preparation for reopening this Friday, there is a no-touch check-in procedure, gloves and fanny packs to hold personal items are being offered to members, and staff are wearing masks and gloves around the clock. Sitting areas and showers have been temporarily closed, and lockers are being spaced apart. They’ve also spaced out equipment and reduced class size.