SC gyms, fitness facilities reopen for the first time in nearly two months

SC gyms, fitness facilities reopen for the first time in nearly two months
SC gyms, fitness facilities reopen for the first time in nearly two months (Source: Caroline Coleburn)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Gyms and other fitness facilities throughout South Carolina reopened their doors Monday for the first time in nearly two months. Gym owners say some customers arrived bright and early ready to get in a workout, but others are still hesitant to get back inside the gym.

Stronghold Gym in Columbia reopened Monday, but with some new rules. When you walk in, you’ll see marks on the floor six feet apart, illustrating where customers should stand waiting to check-in for their workout. Members must enter and exit through separate doors, and equipment is also placed six feet apart.

The governor’s task force recommends only operating at 20% or five people per every 1,000 square feet, so Stronghold is only allowing 50 people inside the gym at one time. "We’re following all of the guidelines. We have them posted right by the door as you walk in. I’ve been watching the floor this morning. Everybody’s been very diligent about cleaning everything. We’ve got people wearing masks, so I think everybody seems to be glad to back working out, and they’re willing to do what they need to to be able to stay," said Stronghold personal trainer Kim Shumaker.

While the gym’s doors are open, Shumaker says turnout is down. “People I think are still skittish about coming to the gym. Hopefully, the ones that did cancel or decided not to come, they will show back up," she explained.

Fit Columbia in Five Points is also seeing fewer people sign up for their group workouts. “I think right now, there are still people afraid to try and come out, so our class sizes are even smaller. Even as we open right now, there’s only one or two people signed up," owner Angela Young Sellars explained. Sellars popular baby goat yoga class normally sells out, but Sunday's class only has two people signed up as of now.

Fit Columbia has limited its indoor class sizes to five to adhere to the governor’s recommendations. Each person must sanitize their hands as soon as they come in the door, and social distancing measures are in place throughout the workout. “The first thing is really important, and that’s not to come if you don’t feel well, so we’re offering a lot of leniency on our rescheduling and canceling of appointments, and we’re also going to prop the doors open, so you don’t even touch the doors,” said Sellars.

Both fitness facilities say safety is their top priority, and they’re hopeful the community will feel comfortable working out in their gyms soon. “I think it's really important right now to support the local fitness industry and the local yoga industry. If you can support them virtually or going into their studios, I think everyone should," Sellars said.

Both fitness facilities have limited hours and classes right now, so make sure you check with your gym to verify their hours. They’ve also reduced their staff for the time being because of the new capacity guidelines. As business ramps up, they are hopeful instructors will be able to return.

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