WADESBORO — Anson County’s only gym is set to finally reopen on Sept. 8 after being closed since March 18 due to COVID-19.
JB Fitness will open doors again to clients who have a doctor’s note stating it is necessary or recommended you exercise. You will only need one doctor’s note. From there you are welcome to continue coming into the gym during regular hours to workout. All doctor’s notes will be kept on file.
This is allowed under Gov. Roy Cooper’s Executive Order No. 141, according to N.C. Attorney General Josh Stein who, in a letter to a Wilmington gym owner, wrote that, “The Governor interprets Executive Order No. 141 to allow the use of indoor gyms or fitness facilities when that use is prescribed by or directed by a medical professional.”
“I decided that if we do proper protocols, especially on the clean side, and follow the (doctor’s) note procedure, we’re going to try to reopen,” Owner John Ballard said. “We’ve had a lot of requests to reopen and I’m going to see how it goes and do our best.”
Things will look different for those who are avid gym goers. JB Fitness will no longer supply clients with towels. This is for extra precaution. Instead, the gym will have paper towels for use.
Clients will be greeted with a bottle of disinfectant and Ballard expects clients to use the disinfectant before and after each equipment use.
Not every machine will be open either.
“I want it to start slow because we’re going to do social distancing and stagger,” Ballard said. “On Monday, Wednesday and Fridays you use this machine, and Tuesday and Thursdays we switch it out.”
Every other machine will be in use on specific days. The ones not open will be disinfected, allowing time to pass by before another person uses the machine.
Ballard wants to keep the gym to about 15 people at a time, which means those who are looking to return to classes like Zumba and Aerobics will have to wait.
“I’m not going to start (classes) right up yet until hopefully they can find or develop a vaccine,” Ballard said.
Ballard does not want people to live in fear. He believes there is just as much risk as going to a restaurant or pumping gas, but he advises just to use common sense: be smart, clean your stuff and social distance.
While clients are expected to follow protocols, the gym will also be stepping up and sanitizing further.
“I miss the people!” Ballard said. “That’s what I look forward to, to just see the people and to get some more traffic uptown.”
Reach Liz O’Connell at 267-467-5613 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter at @_eoconnell.