Gyms are working out the changes of being open during a pandemic


“No one has ever done what we were asked to do, which is open a gym at limited capacity.”

DAVENPORT, Iowa — For Top Shape Gym member Aidan Puckett the gym looks a little different these days.

Puckett says, “I’ve seen a big difference. Just making sure everything gets cleaned when you’re done using it.”

Top Shape has been reopened since May but for both Aidan and gym owner Matt Fischer, it’s not like how things used to be.

He says things have been tough, “Across the board but we’re managing through.”

The gym is managing through an unprecedented time that has left some gym members weary of returning.

Matt says “Certainly the focus is to get existing members to come back to the facilities.”

Matt has gyms on both sides of the river and he says the Illinois gyms have seen more members coming back than in Iowa.

Matt says that the gyms in Illinois are bigger, and that’s why he thinks more people are in the gyms on that side of the river. “Our clubs over there are over 10,000 to 12,000 square feet so there’s a lot more space to spread out.”

It’s been a roller coaster of four months, with the threat of closing always looming.

“We have to think about, you know, how do we keep the lights on and pay our employees.”

Rock Island County is again in the warning zone. It’s something that leaves business owners like Matt nervous about what could happen.  

“You worry that they’ll go further and that they’ll get closed again which is a difficult situation.”

Matt says members are doing their part to make sure the gym is safe for everyone. Treadmills are blocked off every other one for social distancing.

Bikes and elliptical machines are also always blocked off to keep gym members 9 to 10 feet apart .

The gym is doing everything it can to make people feel safe enough to keep coming through the door, even helping with payment options.

“It’s all over the board. It’s extensions, its giving them credits, its providing free training.”

Top Shape wants to make sure members can keep coming back, and he says that it’s different for every person, but he wants to be able to supply for his members.

Because the pandemic isn’t going away, and the new normal, has nothing normal about it.

“Needless to say 2020 has been a really hard year.”

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