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Residents return to gyms as coronavirus restrictions ease

Raymond Evans, 44, was covered in sweat as he walked to his car.

He had just left Club One Fitness Center after not being able to exercise in a gym for more than three months.

“It was awesome,” Evans told The Nassau Guardian as he pulled a gray towel out of his black and red gym bag.

Wiping beads of sweat from his forehead, he continued, “The gym is clean. They did a great job with the smooth transition of it all. There is plenty social distancing.”

He said he was excited when he found out that gyms were allowed to reopen yesterday.

“It was great finding out the gyms were opening today because you really was going crazy at home just being indoors,” said Evans who has been a member of the gym for about a year.

“It is a good reason to get out. It’s absolutely a great way to work off some stress.”

The government ordered the closure of non-essential businesses, including gyms, in late March in an attempt to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Last week, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis announced that gyms would be permitted to reopen on July 1.

The Guardian observed roughly a dozen people enter the gym shortly before noon, all of whom had to pre-register before arrival.

Shelley Smith, 55, a member of seven years, was one of those individuals.

She said she wanted her gym experience to be “normal but better”.

“I expect it to be cleaner and maybe less busy although I usually go in the day, so it’s not busy anyway,” Smith said.

She said the three months without gym access were “terrible at first, especially when we could only walk outside for limited times”.

Asked how she exercised during that time, Smith replied, “We were walking, doing indoor exercises, swimming in the swimming pool.”

Members were required to have their temperature checked in order to enter Club One.

A gym employee sanitized the hands and shoes of all individuals entering the gym.

No more than 40 members will be permitted under new company protocols, according to Club One President Sofia Whitehead.

“We have an hour and a half shift starting at 6 a.m. and then we have a half an hour clean up period,” she told The Guardian.

“All members are required to clean their machines before and after they work out on it. They’re also required to bring their own sanitizer even though we have enough. We have lots around the gym. In the morning at 6 a.m., we had our first full shift of 40 people.

“It went really well. People were renewing their memberships over the counter and also they had all booked their spots in advance online at clubonebahamas.com, which is making things very smooth. I think that everyone’s workout experience was excellent.”

She said the gym will continue its new shift system until July 19 “just to see how people are feeling and how the clients are adhering to the rules”.

“We’re being very, very strict,” Whitehead said.

“Health and safety is our number one priority. We really want to make this a very easy transition, so people can have a similar experience to what they’re used to having but while maintaining the safety and health standards.”

She said more than 130 people were set to work out at Club One during its 6 a.m., 7 a.m., 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. periods alone.

Mark Clark, 40, who has been a member since the beginning of the year, was one of those individuals.

He said he put on weight during the time that the gym was closed.

“Hopefully, I can fit into my uniform by October,” Clark said with a laugh as he entered the gym for its noon session.

Joel Stubbs, president of Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation, was not far behind him.

He also hopes to get back in shape.

“Today is for legs,” Stubbs said.

“We’re going to do as much of an intense work out as we can put in today for the first time back. We’re going to go hard but not too hard because the body was laid up for quite some time.”

 

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