california reopening

SoCal Gyms Reduce Class Sizes in Preparation to Reopen

One gym representative said his studios may not reopen until July, but when they do, there will be a lot of changes, including class sizes cut in half.

NBC Universal, Inc.

Big changes are ahead for thousands of Southern California gym-goers, with OrangeTheory Fitness and SoulCycle the latest gym chains to announce how they plan to reopen, including reducing class sizes by as much as half.

"We cleaned a lot before, but we’re going to clean even more so," said Brendon Ayanbadejo, the president of fitness for Westcoast Fitness, a company that owns and operates OrangeTheory Fitness studios in Los Angeles and other markets around the country.

Ayanbadejo says his studios may not reopen until July, but when they do, there will be a lot of changes, including class sizes cut in half.

"Everyone in the studio will be required to wear a mask," he said. "Coaches, additionally, will have on protective eyewear in the studio. We’ll probably eliminate all the exercises on the floor because we know this is an airborne illness so things can settle on the floor. So we'll keep people off the floor as well and we’ll limit the blowing of fans in studio, but we'll have the HVAC running nice and cool."

SoulCycle is another popular brand adjusting for the future. The NBC4 I-Team obtained an email the company sent to its members yesterday saying changes will include temperature-checks for staff before shifts and that customers will see many bikes in the room, but most will be empty.

"It is and has been devastating to our industry," said Meredith Poppler, the Vice President of Communications for the International Health Racquet and Sportsclub Association. 

When asked how gyms will be able to survive at just 50% capacity, Poppler said, "From a financial standpoint, they’re not going to be able to do that for long."

Ayanbadejo says he’s confident his OrangeTheory studios can weather the next few months.

"We don't want to lose consumer confidence and we want to do things the right way, rather err on the side of caution and be safe, rather than be sorry for sure," he said.

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