Gym operations during the COVID-19

Olivia Patterson, Reporter

Planet Fitness, Crunch, and Body Exchange are some of the non-corporate owned gyms in Bakersfield that have decided to remain open.

In efforts to slow the coronavirus, many corporate and non-corporate owned gyms made a decision and announced that they would be closing down. 

For some health clubs, closing their doors had been mandated by local officials while others closed voluntarily. Some gyms will not close, at least “not until the health department makes them,” according to one of Crunch’s staff members.

Although a few of the smaller gyms have not closed, they are taking precautions to halt the COVID-19 virus from spreading in Kern County. 

Protective measures such as “shutting down the kid care, cancelling all fitness group classes, not allowing any walk-ins or guest passes, and only letting members and new members in” are some of the protective measures being taken, according to Erica Web, a current employee of the Body Xchange gym. 

Planet Fitness is also making changes by not remaining fully staffed, because of the risk of the virus spreading to the employees. They have also made sure to sanitize as often as possible.

Body Xchange is doubling up on cleaning machines every 20 minutes, wiping down machines after every customer and keeping disinfectant bottles filled up. With the COVID-19 looming around Kern County, “members have been cleaning a lot more before using any of the machines,” Web said. Opposite to Planet Fitness’ and Crunch’s approach, the hours at Body Xchange have remained the same. 

“I’m not freaked out at all. I have noticed they have more sanitizer and more disinfectant wipes out and just because they clean a lot every time I go in there,” Oriana Vega, a member of Crunch Fitness, said. 

However, with all the gym closings in abundance, members have expressed worries. 

“I was surprised to see that the gym was still open. One person had a whole orange hazmat suit on with the clear glass helmet on. You can see people wiping down the machines, which does make me feel a bit safe, but I mostly stopped going because I am scared. I’d rather just work out at home or go to the park,” Ricky Lopez, a member of the still open Body Xchange, said.

With a national emergency, such as the COVID-19 virus, in the air, “owners will have to come up with new approaches to making workouts and gyms more accessible and desirable to members if they plan on staying open for business,” a member of the In-Shape gym, said