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Exercise centers prepare for transition to Phase 3

Until the virus is under control, The Grace will limit their use of some exercise props, like hand weights, bands and balls.
Until the virus is under control, The Grace will limit their use of some exercise props, like hand weights, bands and balls.(WHSV)
Published: Jun. 29, 2020 at 6:18 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — Virginia begins Phase 3 of reopening later this week and fitness and exercise facilities will be allowed to increase their capacity from 30 percent to 75 percent.

This change isn’t helpful for some valley fitness businesses, like The Grace, a Barre and Pilates Studio in Harrisonburg.

“The challenge we are presented with the guidelines is the 10-foot requirement and since my space is small, we can’t get a lot of people in the room and still keep them 10 feet apart,” Jessica Browne, the studio’s owner, said.

Browne said she’s still working out how Phase 3 will look to allow all instructors and clients a safe environment. She’s likely determined the two rooms in the studio will only allow 4 to 6 clients per class.

She said she’s received mixed reviews from clients about returning to exercise facilities during the pandemic.

“50/50 probably of those who are ready [to return] and those who are not,” Browne said. “There’s a big middle area too of, ‘Okay I’m ready but I’m only comfortable if there are only one or two other people in the room.‘”

Browne said she and other instructors are trying to best serve all comfort levels. She said they’ll still offer virtual and outdoor classes, while also advising clients to book private and semi-private class sessions.

She said until the virus is under control, classes will limit their use of some exercise props, like hand weights, bands and balls. The Grace is also asking clients to bring their own exercise mat to class.

Other fitness facilities in Harrisonburg, like Harrisonburg 24/7 Family Fitness, won’t be affected because of their already large capacity.

“With the previous capacity and the size of our building being nearly 30,000 plus square feet, the capacity limit before did not hinder the number of people that we could have in the building at one time,” Brandon Obaugh, the general manager of Harrisonburg 24/7 Family Fitness, said.

He said their facility’s normal capacity is 700, and even when operating at only 30 percent capacity, the gym wasn’t coming close to meeting that.

Copyright 2020 WHSV. All rights reserved.

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