Local gyms pumped to be reopened while exercising caution

Jul 7, 2020

Although the routine may feel familiar, Dartmouth’s fitness fanatics will notice a few significant changes as they enter their newly reopened gyms to shed some of the calories they might have packed on during the quarantine.

Under phase three of Gov. Charlie Baker’s reopening plan, indoor fitness training — including weight and resistance training, yoga, and martial arts — resumed on July 6 with new requirements such as spaced out equipment, mask requirements and closed off rooms.

Staff at the town’s gyms said that they are happy, but cautious, about reopening.

“There’s definitely a lot going on here,” Total Fitness manager Julie Fostin said. “You just got to find ways to adapt.”

When patrons enter the Faunce Corner Road gym, one of the first things they must do is fill out a sheet asking if they have any coronavirus symptoms. 

If a person answers yes to any of the questions, they will be asked to go home until they feel better.

“Our system is effectively a form of contract tracing,” Fostin said. 

She noted that the first set of gym members arrived to work out the moment doors opened at 5 a.m.

“There’s a lot of die-hards that came at that hour,” she added. “I think they were especially excited for us to be reopened.”

During quarantine, Fostin said the gym renovated the saunas and bathrooms to make social distancing easier. Staff also made sure the gym equipment was properly spaced out so members could feel safe.

“We’ve definitely been busy during this time,” she laughed. “We literally had two days to get these guidelines in place.”

New Bedford resident and gym member Maria Fontes said that she and other members finally feel like they can get back to their routines again.

“After three months at home it feels so great to be back,” she said. 

Fontes added that she was a big fan of how often the gym is being cleaned during this time, saying “it’s funny that it took this virus to make the world cleaner.”

The Dartmouth Athletic Club by the mall also reopened Monday.

General Manager Tyler Ayers said that along with the standard precautions, the gym will close each afternoon for a two-hour deep clean, along with what he said are once-a-week “special sanitations.” 

Other precautions include social distancing signs and stickers around the gym, marking off machines or pushing machines six feet apart, and closing the locker rooms, saunas and showers until restrictions are lifted.

He said he thought the Athletic Club had taken the right steps to reassure members of the facility’s safety.

“We’re very happy to be back,” Ayers said. “It’s great to help people get adjusted to this new normal.”