Gyms prepare for new year rush amid pandemic

Gyms prepare for new year rush amid pandemic

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - With the new year, a lot of gyms see new membership as people make resolutions to get active and healthy.

“This time of year is historic throughout the industry, throughout the country and most likely throughout the world that people are ready to start a new chapter in their lives and take better care of their health,” said Patrick Irby, president of Anatomies in Hattiesburg.

John Micka, owner of Resolution Fitness in Hattiesburg, said he was glad for the boost in business.

“Last year we had a pretty good bump, even for us probably about a 10% bump in membership as of January last year, so we’d like to see a bump again this year,” Micka said.

Both gym owners said they are prepared and excited for a new year rush and have COVID-19 guidelines to keep people exercising safe.

“We do have sanitation stations all around the gym for people to wipe their equipment before and after,” Micka said. “We do a deep cleaning every day where we scrub everything with sanitizer. People are encouraged to leave through the back door so people that have not screened don’t cross paths with people who have been screened, and we have extra staff on hand all the time to do some deep cleaning.”

Irby said they have been adding more time slots for classes to allow for social distancing and disinfecting.

“We’ll offer a program in the first time slot, then we re-stage the space, disinfecting everything,” Irby said. “And then we’ll offer the same program after, so we’ve had to do that a couple of times.”

Irby said there have been some positives from the changes.

“But basically, you know, all of this has been – as difficult as it seems – it’s been an opportunity for us to explore the different ways that we can do businesses and do it better,” Irby said. “So our cleaning protocols, which were already pretty strong, has definitely increased and a lot of these protocols that we have in place now, we won’t let go of even once we as a nation get past the pandemic status of this disease.”

Owners said they are looking forward to helping gym newcomers make an exercise plan that improves their lifestyle, hoping people stick to their resolutions and make 2021 a healthy and successful year.

“I think that one of the keys to staying healthy is keeping a strong immune system and exercise certainly helps your immune system along,” Micka said.

Irby echoed the idea.

“We believe in the impacts of health and fitness,” Irby said. “How it not only helps to build you up physically, but also to increase your ability to fight off infection, lower your anxiety levels, help decision making. We owe it to ourselves now more than ever to adhere to an exercise program.”

Most gyms require a mask for entry and encourage social distancing with scheduling and capacity limits.

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