Gyms reopen as Phase I continues across Florida

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By: Monica Casey | WCTV Eyewitness News
May 18, 2020

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Gyms in Tallahassee, and across the state of Florida, are back in business as Governor Ron DeSantis puts the final touches on Phase I of Florida's reopening.

Those gyms reported crowds from returning members and new ones, alike.

The mood inside many of those gyms is excitement. People are eager to get back inside, return working with trainers or even use their favorite equipment.

Anytime Fitness, located at the Northwood Center, says the last two months have been difficult, but the phones have been ringing non-stop on Monday.

"We're seeing a good January rush of new members, of old members coming back, wanting to rejoin," said Mike Hamilton, the owner and operator of Anytime Fitness. "I think it says a lot about us as a staff, because we really went out of our way to stay in touch with everybody. I think that this downtime has made a lot of people maybe have an appreciation for the gym that they may have lost."

Hamilton says the entire gym was steam cleaned and his staff went through every surface, from the wights up to the ceiling fans, cleaning with a hospital-grade solution.

In his gym, every other cardio machine is closed to keep social distancing measures in place.

Despite the excitement from Monday's re-opening, Hamilton says it'll take a while to recover from two months of being closed.

Will Bollock has been a member of Anytime Fitness for over a year; he visits the gym about three times per week.

"I was really interested to see what the first day would be like. They opened right at 9 a.m., I sat in bed and waited an hour. I was like, I'm not sure I want to be there for the rush," said Bollock.

Despite his hesitation, Bollock says he's ready to continue his workout routine.

"I think certain places like Tallahassee in Florida that's not been hit as hard, I think it's okay for the economy to reopen," said Bollock.

Over on Thomasville Road, The Refinery has been offering online classes, some on Instagram.

Now, that studio has reopened their doors for groups of 10; nine students, plus one instructor.

"There's plenty of room to spread out. As always, we wipe down the bars, the mats, the equipment prior to class, and we do the same after class," said The Refinery instructor Rachel Procaccini.

At Momentum Fitness Tallahassee, every person who enters the gym has a health screening, which includes filling out an online waiver and having their temperatures taken.

"We've had so far, a great day, and we're learning as we go, but we've had great feedback," said Fitness Director Drew Whitehead.

Momentum Fitness Tallahassee has also closed every other cardio machine; Whitehead says he plans to rotate the closures each day, to deep clean machines on off-days.

"I really wanted to focus on safety. And making sure the safety of our employees and our members was at the top, number one. And then number two is okay, let's open our doors and return to business," said Whitehead.

Momentum member Christina Armes says she appreciates her gym's communication on social media and e-mail.

"They made their procedures very clear, before you even walk in, they tell you what's going on," said Armes.

Armes says although the procedures may look different, she's happy to be back, and the important parts are the same.

"The enthusiasm is still there, keeping people safe is still there, keeping it clean and functional and fit is absolutely still present," said Armes.

Although not every gym in Tallahassee opened immediately on Monday, May 18th, most say they plan to open later in the week, if they haven't already.