Coronavirus: Winnipeg gyms anticipate ‘really busy’ month with heightened restrictions

This weekend may very well be the last Saturday and Sunday of the year that gyms and fitness centres in Winnipeg are able to operate at half capacity.

Fitness facilities are being reduced from 50 per cent to 25 per cent as part of the province’s new “level red” restrictions, which kick in on Monday at 12:01 a.m.

Also beginning Monday, everyone working out in Winnipeg will need to preform their reps with a mask on. Previously, masks were allowed to be taken off in gyms while preforming physical activity.

Read more: Coronavirus: Staggering 480 new Manitoba cases Friday, level red coming to Winnipeg

“It’s going to make us more busy,” says Megan Gabert, the owner of Orangetheory Fitness’ Bridgewater and Sage Creek locations.

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The lobby of Orangetheory’s Bridgewater location on Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020.
The lobby of Orangetheory’s Bridgewater location on Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020. Marek Tkach / Global News

“We have the same number of members who want to work out and less spaces to put them in. So we’ve had to add more classes which from a business perspective actually adds to our overhead.”

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Her locations reopened at the end of June following a three-month shutdown at the beginning of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

With having to spend more money to cove the additional classes, Gabert says she’s just happy they aren’t being forced to close again.

Read more: Coronavirus: Manitobans getting back to the gym

“So many people have said how much they need to be here, want to be here, so happy we’re not shut down, saying they really need to work out and they need to make fitness a priority in their lives.”

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Masks will become “must-wear” along with the capacity change, something Brickhouse Gym in Winnipeg has been getting used to for over a month.

Brickhouse Gym owner Paul Taylor coaching a client during a workout session.
Brickhouse Gym owner Paul Taylor coaching a client during a workout session. Marek Tkach / Global News

“We’ve been implementing the masks for the last month; the only difference is now if you’re doing a really tough set and you want to take it off temporarily you have to just keep it on,” said Paul Taylor, who owns Brickhouse’s Route 90 and Gertrude Avenue locations.

Over at Orangetheory, Gabert says they’re providing members with a unique device to be placed underneath masks aimed at easing breathing.

A silicon piece that goes under your mask being given out to members at Orangetheory.
A silicon piece that goes under your mask being given out to members at Orangetheory. Marek Tkach / Global News

“They go over your nose and mouth. … They’re worn with your mask, so it just holds your mask farther away from your nose and mouth so that you don’t suck it in while you’re working out.”

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The restrictions on gyms will be in place until at least Nov. 16, as per recommendations from public health officials.

“It’s going to be tough to have our standard 24/7 access, I don’t know if that’s going to work out temporarily. Some people will probably have to book their spots at least at peak times and they’ll have to keep their workouts a little bit shorter,” Taylor said.

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