With the announcement that gyms can reopen next week in Connecticut, some owners are preparing their spaces to allow more distance between members. Meanwhile, others say they don’t have the space to accommodate enough customers to make money.
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Standing in his silent premises, Mike Carozza said he can’t wait to hear the sounds of a busy gym all around him again.
“We spent the last two and a half months picking our brains, are we going to survive? How are we going to survive?” he said.
He is more than ready to reopen his 10,000-square-foot CrossFit gym in Stamford. Carozza Fitness has enough space to accommodate trainers and an adequate number of members 6 feet apart with a mask and 12 feet apart without, as state regulations now require.
Carozza said 80% of his clients plan on coming back, which he hopes will help him catch up on $40,000 he owes in rent.
“We have to make our members and coaches comfortable,” he said. “If they are not comfortable, it doesn't really matter what the guidelines are, they aren't going to come back.”
Bridget McBride doesn’t have that much space at the Fairfield gym she co-owns. She plans to reopen The Bar Method on June 19 but says she still doesn’t know exactly how.
“Our schedules are live and members want to book, but we can’t let them because we don’t know how many people we can have,” she said.
While planning for the reopening, McBride was under the impression that half of capacity would be permitted. She says that requiring 12 feet between members means only five people can take a class -- and that’s not enough to make money. She has started a petition asking the governor to instead allow 6 feet between members in a class without masks.
“If we can only have five per class when we usually consistently had 20, I mean it’s a huge impact for our business. People are inevitably going to cancel their membership or suspend them,” she said.
McBride already had to close a Westport studio due to the pandemic, and she wants to see the Fairfield one succeed.
In Stamford, although Carozza has the space at his CrossFit gym, he believes 12 feet between clients is asking a lot, especially for smaller gyms that just want to keep their businesses alive.
“If you can go to Home Depot and be in line three, four, two feet from someone else but now you have to go to the gym and be 12 feet away, it doesn't really make much sense," he said.