As Toronto enters Stage 3 of the province’s reopening framework, the city’s gyms will be able to reopen their doors after closing for several months due to COVID-19.
New restrictions and guidelines have been put into place by the province of Ontario to ensure a safe reopening of fitness facilities. For example, physical distancing must still be maintained at the gym, except for as needed for personal training.
As there will still be an indoor gathering limit of 50 people, the total number of people in weight lifting areas or on exercise machines is limited to an amount that can maintain a physical distance of at least two metres.
The same restrictions apply for classes and organized activities. Once again, physical distancing must take place and cannot exceed the indoor gathering limit of 50 and the outdoor limit of 100.
Assigned spaces have also been recommended for fitness classes. This could include marking circles on the floor to designate a work out space for each person.
Amenities that are made to the public including washrooms, locker rooms, change rooms and showers, must be cleaned and disinfected on a frequent basis. Some amenities like steam rooms and saunas are not yet permitted to open.
“I believe that as people return to their daily activities, they need to be able to safely access gyms and fitness centres with confidence, and reestablish their norms and routines,” said Dr. Ian Norton, Health Emergency response expert, founder of Respond Global and former head of Emergency Medical Team response with World Health Organization.
In Toronto, here are some gyms that are reopening and their plans.
GoodLife Fitness is among the gyms in the city that will be reopening on Friday as Toronto moves into Stage 3.
Here are some of GoodLife’s Toronto locations that will be opening on July 31:
- Bell Trinity Centre Gym – 483 Bay Street
- 137 Yonge Street Gym – 137 Yonge Street
- Toronto Street for Women Gym – 200-36 Toronto Street
- Wellington and York Gym – 111 Wellington Street West
- Richmond and John Gym – 267 Richmond Street West
- Union Station Gym – 7 Station Street
- Richmond and Bathurst Gym – 555 Richmond Street West
- Manulife Centre Gym – 210-55 Bloor Street West
- Bloor and Bay Gym – 80 Bloor Street West
- Bloor and Park Gym – 8 Park Road
- King Liberty Gym – 85 Hanna Avenue Suite 200
- Yonge and St. Clair Gym – 12 St. Clair Avenue East
- Danforth and Pape Gym – 635 Danforth Avenue
- Mount Pleasant and Davisville Gym – 250 Davisville Avenue
- Coxwell and Gerrard Gym – 280 Coxwell Avenue
- Dunfield and Eglinton Gym – 110 Eglinton Avenue East
- Yonge Eglinton Centre Gym – 2300 Yonge Street
These clubs will be opening under new principles included in “The GoodLife Standard” to ensure safety.
The club is introducing new cleaning practices and protocols. Some of these protocols include an investment that has been made into 300 “Victory Electrostatic Sprayers” so that each gym will have its own device. They have said that this will ensure “all our clubs receive a comprehensive thorough cleaning every day.”
Masks will also be mandatory inside these gyms except while exercising.
The gym has introduced different methods for each phase of reopening.
There will be 30 minutes of dedicated cleaning time after every hour of member activity.
All employees will be required to wear masks. Group fitness instructors who are actively teaching a class will be exempt.
Employees will also be adopting a “constantly clean” mindset, according to GoodLife. This is to help ensure that special attention is given to high-touch surfaces.
One of the ways that they plan to achieve safety is by encouraging members to book workouts ahead of time to help gyms maintain a preset capacity. They have said that it will also help to promote physical distancing and reduce the potential spread of illnesses. Walk-ins will be permitted if the club has available capacity.
Members can book workouts up to seven days in advance to their club reopening. Members will be permitted to book into the general workout area, group fitness studios, cycling studios, and the for-women portion of the gym. Each time-slot is one hour long, and members are permitted to book into one slot per day.
Personal training sessions will continue to be booked by trainers. Remote personal training will also be offered. Upon arrival at GoodLife, members will be required to line-up outside. There will be designated waiting areas.
Reduced amenities will also be put into place on a club-by-club basis, depending on size.
Each member is encouraged to bring a pre-filled water bottle. Water fountains inside of the facility will be available for bottle filling but members will not be allowed to drink directly out of the fountains.
Floor fans and mounted fans will remain off to prevent any unnecessary air movement. Ceiling fans will remain on to provide air flow necessary for proper ventilation.
Phase two clubs will no longer be required to book online for the General Workout Area.
If the workout area is at a maximum capacity upon arrival, members will be required to wait in a line until a spot becomes available.
Booking will still be required for live and virtual Group Fitness classes and for Women Group Fitness Studio and Virtual Cycling Studio.
All clubs in regions that already moved into Stage 3 of the provinces reopening framework opened on July 17.
Planet Fitness will also be reopening their gyms on Friday, with precautions to ensure the safety and wellbeing of both staff and members.
The gym recently announced that members and guests will be required to wear a mask at all times inside open stores, when not actively exercising, starting August 1. All employees are already currently required to wear masks.
“As we continue to face the COVID-19 pandemic, amid an ongoing global health crisis, wellness has never been as essential to our collective community as it is today,” said Chris Rondeau, Chief Executive Officer at Planet Fitness.
“Gyms are part of the solution and a key element of the healthcare delivery system, providing much needed access for people to exercise and stay healthy. Given our leadership position within the industry, we believe it’s our responsibility to further protect our members, employees, and communities so that we can all safely focus on our health, which is more important now than ever before.”
Planet Fitness said that team members will receive daily temperature checks upon arrival to their shifts, increased and thorough cleaning will be conducted, and new signs will be placed throughout their gyms that will highlight their “Social Fitnessing” guidelines.
The gym has committed to clean through “The Clean Thumb Club.” This includes touchless check-in and cleaning stations stocked with paper towels and disinfectant spray. Hand sanitizer station will also be replenished regularly.
Some of the gyms cardio and strength machines will not be available to give members “a little extra breathing room.” To see how many people are at your club before going, you can now check the “Crowd Meter” on the gyms app.
The gym is also recommending that members wash their hands before and after working out and wipe down equipment before and after use.
They also ask that all members maintain physical distance, stay home if sick, and give encouragement without touching.
You can also practice “Social Fitnessing” at the gym by “putting an imaginary treadmill or two between yourself and others.”
Here are the Planet Fitness locations that will be opening on July 31:
- College Park – 444 Yonge Street
- Gerrard Square – 1000 Gerrard Street East
- North Scarborough – 4711 Steeles Avenue East
- Woodbridge – 8300 Hwy 27
YMCA of Greater Toronto:
The YMCA will also be reopening 7 of its health and fitness centres in Toronto and Peel on July 31.
Increased screening, cleaning and physical distancing measures have been put into place by the centres.
“As a charity dedicated to the health of individuals and community, we know we are needed more now than ever before and we’ve worked hard to be ready to help members in person as they regain their physical and mental health after this long shut down,” says Medhat Mahdy, President and CEO, YMCA of Greater Toronto.
“Even though we’ll need to be physically distanced and take other safety precautions, we know from our earlier re-openings that people benefit from physical activity and from connecting with others in a shared community.”
Strength training and cardio in individual conditioning spaces, group fitness classes and personal training will be included in the reopening. Showers, indoor pools and recreational team sports will remain closed at this time.
New safety measures include enhanced cleaning and sanitization, equipment at least 8 feet apart, plexiglass at entry points, screening before entry and signage throughout the buildings.
Hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes will also be available throughout the building and a new booking system has been put into place to cap the number of members at the gym.
The YMCA has said that additional staff have been added to the regular cleaning team.
“The YMCA of Greater Toronto is a charity and it too has been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. It relies on members and donors now more than ever. The continued commitment to our gym means the Y will get to keep serving our community for years to come,” the YMCA said in a release.
Here are the locations opening on July 31:
- Brampton YMCA – 20 Union Street, Brampton
- Central YMCA – 20 Grosvenor Street, Toronto
- Cooper Koo Family YMCA – 461 Cherry Street, Toronto
- Mississauga YMCA – 325 Burnhamthorpe Road West, Mississauga
- North York YMCA – 567 Sheppard Avenue East, North York
- Scarborough YMCA – 230 Town Centre Court, Scarborough
- West End YMCA – 931 College Street, Toronto