A pack of disinfecting wipes sits close to a dumbbell Photo credit: Roberto Iraheta

As Ontario slowly begins to lift COVID-19 restrictions, gym members and fitness owners alike are looking forward to facilities reopening soon.

“Of course, I’m super excited to open up again, it will be nice to be able to get back to a few goals I was working on prior to facilities closing. As I’m sure many other avid gym goers are,” said Zoe Burns, a Fitness and Health promotions student at Algonquin College.

Goodlife Fitness has already started to take steps to prepare for reopening.

According to its website, it has invested in over 300 victory electrostatic sprayers and ensured its clients that a comprehensive cleaning will take place at each Goodlife club regularly.

All associates are required to wear a mask and will adapt a “constantly cleaning” mind-set to ensure special attention is always given to high-touch surfaces.

Members will be required to book a one-time block per day for one hour in efforts to maintain safety.

Capacity and walk-ins will be determined on a club-by-club basis. Exact dates have not yet been announced by the province.

The continuous and gradual assessment of public health will remain until post-pandemic period, when a vaccine for COVID-19 is available, according to the Ontario Ministry of Health.

“Of course, all gyms will be a bit different with social distancing rules, workouts and training may look a little different, but I think members will understand and be respectful of that,” Burns said.

“It will definitely be a little while, my guess is at least six months – a year and even then, still being cautious and extra diligent with cleaning,” Burns said.

Despite only being in Phase 2, independent studios such as Soungui Fitness are excited regardless of the stage.

“Now that we’re going into Phase 2, I think it’s amazing we have this opportunity, and I’m excited to get started back up with my clients in a gym setting,” said Soungui Koulamalleh, an Algonquin College alumnus and owner of Soungui Fitness.

“(Premier) Doug Ford said we can get together with five to 10 people max, so I’ve been able to hold small group fitness classes and I have enough room for people to be spaced out and apart, using their own fitness equipment as well,” said Koulamalleh.

At Soungui Fitness, one-on-one training is still provided, but with some restrictions such as disinfecting all weights and equipment after each use, wearing a mask and limiting the number of clients per visit.

“When I do one-on-one training it’s just myself and the client, no one else. My business is around other businesses, so I must take health and safety into account,” said Koulamalleh.

For all COVID-19 related updates visit ottawapublichealth.ca or ontario.ca