Practicing COVID-safe gym behavior after the mask mandate

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The experts say you should still wear a mask at the gym if at all possible.

SAN ANTONIO — The statewide mask mandate expires next week, but many people will still be required to wear masks at businesses that require them. That includes most gyms. If you haven’t been back to a gym since the pandemic began, should you feel safe going back with or without a mask? 

Really what it comes down to is personal preference, that is if your gym doesn’t require you to wear a mask while using the facility.  

“I think the biggest difference is you have boxed gyms with thousands of customers, and it’s really kind of hard to mandate cleanliness, and then you have boutique studios, like we have with yoga and pilates studios, and it’s much easier for us to spray down after each client and keep our protocols,” said Jesse James Leyva from Outlaw FitCamp.

At Leyva’s Outlaw FitCamp they remodeled and say they may keep it the way it is even after COVID. 

“All the franchisees bought new equipment and we reset everything up, and now we have a 7 foot by 11 foot, we call them a jail cell, and graphics on the ground separating them and they have their own area with their own spray bottles,” Leyva said.

To further prove the need for masks, the CDC did a case study on one high-intensity fitness class in August of last year in an un-named gym and found 55 out of 81 attendees developed COVID. 40 percent of people with COVID attended class on or after the day symptoms began. 76 percent wore masks infrequently, including 84 percent with COVID, and 60 percent without.

Leyva says his staff will continue wearing masks out of safety and for the comfort of their clients.

“We are still going to keep our staff wearing masks for the next few weeks, maybe even months, until our customers are comfortable,” he said.

The CDC says gyms should require masks during exercise, decrease class sizes, require physical distancing, improve ventilation within the facility, and encourage isolation after symptoms appear while waiting for a COVID test result.

“You want to make sure they are going above and beyond to make sure they have everything at your discretion to spray down and feel comfortable on your machine that you are working out on,” Leyva added.

Leyva also says this time of the is the perfect time to take advantage of south Texas trails and outdoor surroundings, or even just do a 15 to 25 minute workout at home. Just make sure you are getting the proper nutrition too.


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