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Gyms and wellness centers have been ramping back up for months. As of June 2, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine dropped all COVID-19 protocols, excluding nursing homes and assisted living communities. That has opened the door for gyms to fully reopen while implementing their own protocols.

Joe Purton, owner of CycleBar in Beachwood, and Kate Toohig, assistant general manager at the Mandel Jewish Community Center in Beachwood, said they are excited to welcome back members.

All gyms had to close in March 2020 and were allowed to reopen two months later. The JCC first welcomed back personal training and Pilates clients. And on June 1 of this year, it allowed all of its members to come back in.

“Our reopening has been very conservative,” Toohig said. “We started with reservations, social distancing and masks while working out. And we’ve kind of phased it as we’ve gone along through the shifts also with the public health situation. Within the last week or so, we removed our reservation requirement for our classes in our facility. We removed our temperature checks. And as of today, we’ve removed the requirement for masks for those who are vaccinated.”

CycleBar reopened at the end of May 2020. Prior to the pandemic, it had 50 bikes in the cycle theater. Upon reopening, it downsized to 22 bikes in order to accommodate the required 6 feet of social distance. Purton said it also installed an air filtration system that takes 99.9% of the toxins out of the air. It’s the same system used in hospital operating rooms, he said.

As of June 2, CycleBar went up to 35 bikes to ease people back into the swing of things.

Purton said there is a sense of relief in seeing people come back to the gym.

“Everybody is just so happy that things are getting back to normal,” he said. “Specifically in the studio, we’ve brought back a lot of the amenities that we took away. So, people were really happy to see that. We have cold towels we give to people after class, we have child service, all kinds of stuff that we took away because of the pandemic. This is always a great atmosphere, but people are really excited to see things return to normal. The people who just joined us (during the) pandemic are really excited to see all of these new things they didn’t experience before.”

Toohig said the JCC’s group fitness and personal trainers went on Facebook Live to start teaching group fitness classes to all social communities during the pandemic.

“We have been trying to keep people active this whole time we’ve been shut down,” Toohig said, “whether we’ve been virtual or actually in-person. But people coming back into the gym, for their mental health and working out in a group setting, it’s just really, really good for their resilience. There’s statistics that show that people need to be around other people. And if they can get back into forming their healthy habits and getting back into their routines, their mental health will take a rebound as their physical health improves, too.”

Purton said it is important to return to consistent workout routines as things open back up.

“Having a workout regimen is something that not only helps your physical health, but also helps your mental health,” Purton said. “I know a lot of people who I’ve talked to personally who have had issues around depression by being isolated. Exercise combats that. With the community we have here, we call it our ‘cycle family.’ It’s a very welcoming atmosphere. Everyone is really happy when they come in and when they leave.”

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