Gyms prepare for New Year’s resolution rush amid COVID-19 pandemic


CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Gyms are preparing for a New Year’s resolution spike over the next few weeks during the coronavirus pandemic.

Normally during the month of January, many gyms across the country expect an increase in new members. But with COVID-19 restrictions in place, gyms are prepping for every scenario.

As fitness centers re-opened over the summer, the Gold’s Gym Arboretum location saw a rush of people. Staff also had to manage through a high demand for personal training.

R.J. Lay is the fitness manager at Gold’s Gym Arboretum and has been a part of the staff for more than three years.

“We just got kind of rushed,” Lay said. “It was fun for us because we hadn’t gotten to communicate with other people for a while.”

Though some members hadn’t been to the gym in months, they are now are preparing for a potential second wave.

Tim Macon has been a member for more than a decade. He believes the gym is one of the safest places to be, because it helps your health and your immune system. However, he tells 8News that other members have left the gym due to coronavirus concerns.

Gold’s Gym Arboretum has Plexiglas set up at the front desk to protect workers and members from coronavirus. (Photo: Rachel Keller)

“Normally, it would be pretty packed in here, but I don’t think there’s going to be too many people that are going to come out this year,” Macon said. “The gym is big, so it’s easy to social distance.”

Under Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s modified stay-at-home order, occupancy at gyms is limited to 75 percent of the lowest occupancy load on the certificate of occupancy. The total number of attendees (including both participants and instructors) in all group exercise and fitness classes cannot exceed the lesser of 75 percent of the minimum occupancy load on the certificate of occupancy or 10 people.

One gym member tells 8News that they think the New Year’s spike will make it harder to sign up for classes. But Lay believes staff is fully prepared.

“We do a very good job of monitoring that. We haven’t had that issue,” Lay said. “This is a very big building, too. So we haven’t had that issue yet.”

According to the modified stay-at-home order, all attendees must remain 10 ft. apart. At Gold’s Gym, machines are sectioned off and equipment is disinfected before and after use.

Camden Hilton has been an employee with Gold’s Gym since August of 2020. According to Hilton, the crew has remained optimistic.

“I never experienced anything like this before and it was very tough. You have to roll with the punches and do your best to persevere through some of the hardships that will come with the pandemic,” Hilton said. “Hopefully with these regulations, we are still able to come out and try to reach those fitness goals. We don’t really know what to look forward to, but we’re hopeful, and we’re going to try our best to stay positive.”

Hilton says that employees are working more hours to keep up with a potential demand in 2021.


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