6-foot spacing and half-empty studios: Gold's Gym CEO shares what locations will look like when they finally reopen

6-foot spacing and half-empty studios: Gold's Gym CEO shares what locations will look like when they finally reopen
Gold's Gym has crafted a plan to reopen when the time comes.Vince L. / Yelp
  • Gyms, forced to temporarily close due to the coronavirus outbreak, could reopen soon in certain states that are lifting restrictions.
  • Gold's Gym CEO Adam Zeitsiff shared with Business Insider the company's plan to reopen locations in phases.
  • In the first phases of reopening, gyms won't be quite the same as before, with reduced capacity and floor markers to indicate the spacing needed for proper social distancing.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Gyms were mentioned among the group of businesses permitted to operate in the first phase of the White House's guidelines to reopen the American economy, announced earlier this month.

But, the exact timing of when they can open — and what kinds of regulations they follow when they do — will likely depend on the state and local governments where each is situated.

Gold's Gym CEO Adam Zeitsiff has a plan for this, and like the federal government's plan, it has three phases.
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"We're thankful they'd put [gyms] in Phase One, but that doesn't mean anything until the local states and local governments approve things and get rid of their stay-at-home orders and allow people to go back to the gyms," he told Business Insider. "So we're going to look at it locale by locale."

Gold's Gym has nearly 700 locations in 29 countries around the world.

The first phase for getting company-owned Gold's Gyms up and running, Zeitsiff said, would involve reopening strength and cardio areas where they can ensure proper social distancing could be observed. Gyms would limit capacity and alternate which machines could be used while keeping up rigorous cleaning schedules.
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In the second phase, gyms could start holding group exercise classes again. They'd be capped at 50% their usual capacity unless they needed to be reduced further to maintain social distancing. Zeitsiff said the company hopes to reopen kids' clubs in this phase as well.

The final phase would be getting full operations back to normal. But, Zeitsiff said, no one quite knows what that means yet, and "normal" could be "some time down the road." "There is no timeline. I think anybody in this industry would be very happy if we could have our gyms open, cardio open, strength open, classrooms open at 50%, people abiding by the rules, keeping us safe, everything as clean as possible," he said. "And then we'll figure out what full normalcy is."
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Georgia is among the first states to start opening gyms — along with hair salons, bowling alleys, spas, and salons — on Friday. Though Gold's Gym does not operate a company-owned location in that state, there are a number of franchise locations there. Franchisees are able to make their own decisions when it comes to reopening protocols, but corporate does share its recommendations.

"First and foremost, we make sure that they know they need to follow whatever state and local guidelines put out," he said. "We say, 'Here's what we're doing. We strongly recommend doing this.' They are very intelligent business owners. ... They take the best of everything that they can from our work and from their work and bring it together."

What fitness could look like post-coronavirus

6-foot spacing and half-empty studios: Gold's Gym CEO shares what locations will look like when they finally reopen
A Gold's Gym location in Fullerton, California, prior to COVID-19.Jimmy C. / Yelp
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Once Gold's locations do reopen, members shouldn't expect them to look the same as they did pre-coronavirus. Zeitsiff said the company is currently printing branded markers to place on the floor to indicate where members should stand in order to be six feet apart from one another. Gold's is also updating its code of conduct to ask members to agree to follow social distancing and wipe down machines after they are done using them.

"We're role-playing conversations that we never thought we'd have to have," Zeitsiff said. "'I apologize for interrupting you, but you're not six feet apart from this person,' or those kinds of things."

The coronavirus outbreak has been difficult for the fitness industry as gyms and studios have been forced to temporarily close across the country. Gold's Gym announced last week its decision to permanently shutter 30 locations in the US.
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Many gyms and fitness studios have pivoted to streaming classes online. Gold's started offering its Amp workout app for free to anyone who wanted to use it, not just members.

Zeitsiff said this could be the beginning of people taking more of a hybrid approach to their fitness routine.

"I don't think you're ever going to replace a physical gym," he said. "But I think people will realize that, maybe I can get in a little more family time. I can get my two or three workouts a week at the gym at Gold's, in the morning before work, and instead of rushing there Saturday and missing breakfast with the family, because I want to get one more workout in, I'll do it at home."
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Zeitsiff also hopes for a newfound appreciation for fitness' benefits, and not just the obvious physical ones.

"Fitness does have an actual impact, not just on the physical look of a person, but on the actual wellbeing of a person," he said. "Our industry realizes we have an opportunity to continue innovating and make people continue to see that so we can help them in the long term."Read the original article on Business Insider
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