With gyms across New York City reopening today for the first time in five months, Retro Fitness is among those welcoming back members who are eager to get back into their workout routines.
"We have been ready to open for a number of months," said Retro Fitness CEO, Andrew Alfano. The chain has taken "great precautionary steps" to ensure customer and employee safety across facilities, he said, including mask mandates, social distancing requirements between machines, limited class sizes, increased cleaning protocols, and touchless check-in.
While working out in a mask may be an unfamiliar option for many, Alfano says this is a small price to pay for the physical and mental benefits of working out. "I think most people would say a mask is a small price to pay given the fragility and sensitivity of the times that we're in."
Prior to reopening, each facility must pass a virtual inspection conducted by the New York Department of Health. The inspector will ensure the gyms have proper ventilation, are requiring face coverings for all staff and patrons, are enacting proper social distancing measures, and are conducting routine cleaning across facilities.
"We worked with the state on virtual as a way to get started, because the timing is so tough," said Mayor Bill de Blasio. "The virtual inspections are a way to at least allow our health inspectors to get started. We will then be doing ongoing in-person inspections as those inspectors' time frees up after school and child care gets going."
Since stay-at-home orders began, New Yorkers have been forced to forgo communal gym workouts, with many people relying on at-home equipment and live-streamed workout classes for their source of daily exercise. Now, Alfano hopes to see many members coming back to enjoy their former routines.
"We are very excited to have the opportunity to be open," he said.