Local gyms hit ground running with capacity boost

Multnomah County

Employees at Planet Fitness say it feels good to be back to work again

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — This is the first couple of weeks gyms have been allowed to reopen and increase their capacity after months of forced closure.

This pandemic clearly is affecting our physical health — whether or not you contract the disease. With reports of bad eating habits along with increased sedentary behaviors, we know our bodies may be suffering. Plus, all of this has an impact on our mental health, too.

This is something health professionals say we’ll have to grapple with even after this pandemic is over.

Gyms in the area have long advocated that they serve an important role of keeping people well during the pandemic. With so much shut down, gym members say it’s one of the only ways to get out of the house.

People in Portland say this last gym closure took really its toll on them during these witner months..

“It’s been a struggle mentally and physically, my body has been getting really sore from not coming into the gym,” One gym member, Reynaldo Cartagena, said. “Mentally I’ve kind of been battling some things because this is my stress reliever.”

Now that the tri-county area is in the High Risk category, Cartagena says he’s beginning to feel like himself again and is able to get back in a routine. He says it helps that his gym, Planet Fitness, takes physical distancing and sanitation very seriously.

“Especially with the times right now, keeping everything clean is really important to me,” he said. “I don’t want to bring any germs home.”

He added that other gym members are taking the rules seriously as well — they want to ensure businesses like gyms can stay open while we wait for the general public to get vaccinated.

With the latest update on county risk classifications, the Portland metro area remains in the High Risk category.

This is the first two-week cycle where gyms in the metro area don’t have to restrict people to a 45-minute time limit, allowing people more flexibility for their workouts.

To keep members safe, Planet Fitness is focusing its efforts on multiple sanitation stations and temperature checks for its employees, and other wellness measures. Additionally, the gym is having clients wipe down equipment after each use in addition to hourly staff deep cleans.

Employees at Planet Fitness say it feels good to be back to work again.

“We’re overwhelmed with emotion; our members are overwhelmed with excitement,” Director of Operations Justin Andrews said. “We’ve got a lot of members in the Portland metro area who are very eager to get back to our facilities to focus on their health and mental wellbeing.”

Andrews went on to say he’s really proud of the social sacrifices Oregonians have made in order to drive our numbers down — allowing gyms to reopen. This back and forth of closures hasn’t been easy for anyone, especially those who are forced out of work because of it.

Yet, gym owners are not taking these little victories for granted — and they hope to increase capacity later this year.

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