Gyms Ready for Lifting of Coronavirus Capacity Limits

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Last St. Patrick’s Day, the District Athletic Club had to reduce capacity based on square footage, not people. So, on Friday they’re excited to get rid of those limits to welcome everyone back, and still have enough space to keep people 6 feet apart.

“I can’t wait. I can’t wait,” said Carla O’Brien, owner of the DAC.

On Friday the state is lifting capacity limits at gyms and fitness centers. Masks and social distancing are still required.

The red lines marked on the floor have been a warning zone for the last year.

“What you see is a 12-foot zone that we’ve had taped in red,” said O’Brien.

They marked off the most amount of room for individual workouts, keeping people the farthest a part. Now the gym can bring people a little closer together.  

“We’re reformatting space requirements 8 to 9 feet apart. Instead of using zone requirements we’re now going to be just placing x’s separated and staggered for everybody,” said O’Brien.

Throughout the gym they’ll be able to move equipment back where it was pre-pandemic. The bikes were moved out of the studio and into the main atrium of the District offices for space and ventilation. Now they can go back to the studio.

Some people say they’re still planning their workouts around safety.  

“I come in at times when you know it’s not busy,” said Jose Valdivia of New Haven.

Ruth Asch says she’s glad the restrictions are being lifted when the weather is getting warmer.

“If I do feel like maybe it’s a little bit more crowded than I would want to be, then at least, hopefully, there will be the option to go outside now,” said Asch.

The outdoor space has helped the club during the restrictions. The 50% capacity cut last year meant a 50% reduction in revenue.

“We are fortunate enough to have an outside area so that has done overflow for us, and we have been able to get a little bit more revenue and get a little bit more membership,” said O’Brien.

The District Athletic Club is about 4,500 square feet. Some gyms may not have the amount of space this location has to be at 100% capacity and still keep people 6 feet apart, so restrictions may impact some fitness centers.

But here, between the yoga studio, the fitness room, and the cross-fit center, they O’Brien says they’re ready to do what it takes to keep everyone safe and healthy.

“People are very happy to come and feel safe in their environment here while they’re working out.”

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