As Washington State starts to get a handle on COVID-19, restrictions on gyms have been loosened across the state.
On March 11, Gov. Jay Inslee announced that all counties in the state were eligible to move into phase three of Washington’s reopening plan. For gyms, that meant they were able to open at 50% capacity.
Jeff Wood, the owner of Empowered fitness training, said the precautions they have now have been in place since the original phase two in November 2020.
“All of our stations are spaced out and we have sort of reformatted our classes so that everybody is going to be in an assigned spot,” Wood said. “Every station has all the equipment necessary for them to be able to do the workout and stay put in their confined spot.”
Wood said every person that comes into the gym is required to grab a spray bottle and towel so they can wipe down their area once they are finished working out. They also do regular temperature checks on people coming in and ask if they have experienced any COVID-19 symptoms.
Wood said because his business is strictly appointment based, they were able to open up earlier than most gyms.
“We were able to open up during phase one with a very limited capacity,” Wood said. “Everything we did was appointment based and that was what they were able to do in phase one. When we moved up to phase two we were able to move up our capacity, when we moved up to phase three we got to expand our capacity a little bit more.”
This could also be said about the CWU Recreation Center.
Alex Lee, the coordinator for indoor operations and events said that with Washington moving into phase three, restrictions are being loosened for students to go workout.
“Currently at phase three we are at 50% capacity in the building,” Lee said. “Basically all of our facilities are open for use at a much reduced capacity. We have to monitor spacing between patrons and most of our programs are operating. They aren’t operating fully, but they are operating at some level.”
One restriction that is gone is the need to make appointments for the use of the Recreation Center.
“That was back in the winter quarter,” Lee said. “Basically the state changed their phases. So in phase one, that was back in January, you needed a reservation.”
Lee said the reasons why the reservation system was in place was due to the limited capacity of students allowed in the Recreation Center at that time and the state’s guidelines only allowed people in for an hour at a time.
Lee said they have had no problems so far with the capacity situation and the only thing that is still closed in the Recreation Center is the sauna in the locker rooms. Other than that, every other operation is open for students to use.
“The good thing is the way that the equipment is laid out currently and the way that our facility is laid out is that we have multiple areas that patrons can get a workout in for whatever they like to do,” Lee said. “The weight room for example: if the weight room is full and we have reached our max capacity, we have weight equipment upstairs, so people could still get their lift in, they just can’t be in the weight room.”
Lee said the main goal of the Recreation Center is to allow students to work out while also relieving stress.
“Our goal this entire year, even though we’ve had a lot of restrictions put on us from the state and the university and the county, is to just be open and available to the students that are here on campus in Ellensburg, to give them a chance to work out,” Lee said. “ And even though we have these restrictions our hope is that they were still able to come in and get the work out in that they wanted and to be able to get some stress relief. And for us that has been our main goal all year long.”