March 10th, 2021 ~ Vol. 91 No. 10
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Local Community Gym Reopens
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
David Selles
Pass Herald Reporter
The Community Fitness Connection Gym has reopened in Blairmore.

The gym will be operating under strict health guidelines put in place by the Alberta government.

President of Community Fitness Connection, Debbie Greenwood, says the 12 board members put a lot of work into the reopening of the gym to ensure it will operate safely.

"The last government announcement left us scrambling. We have reopened with three metre distancing and mandatory masks. We have 12 board members that were very diligent in this process. We want to operate as safely as possible and adhere to all the rules."

Greenwood adds that gym members are very cooperative in keeping a safe space.

"Our members are great about sticking to the rules. They had lost their gym so they're so happy to have it back and they're willing to do what we need to in order to keep it open."
The gym is also cleaned every 24 hours and other safety measures are also in place.

"The facility is as safe as it can possibly be. We do daily cleaning and we have hand sanitizer at the door. When you walk in there's an antiviral spray bottle right there. Members use it before and after being in the gym. If there's no bottle there, it means the gym is at capacity," said Greenwood.

According to Greenwood, there is also an air system that helps clean air throughout the gym area.
continued below ...
"We also have a professionally installed air exchange system. There are six vents in the cardio room and two vents in each of the other two rooms as well. We're not breathing stale air. It's the equivalent of having windows open, which was one of the suggestions health officials suggested."

When the gym first reopened, members were required to book two hour time slots in order to ensure the proper amount of people in the gym.

Greenwood says they should be able to relinquish the need for bookings in the near future.
"We have recently found out that we may be able to operate without the bookings as long as we feel we can operate within the maximum capacity that we were allowed to set. We have set it at 10 for now. If we feel that with our fob system that allows us to see how many people are in the gym at one time, we may be able to do away with the bookings. We'll do that as soon as possible because everyone wants to go back to normal as much as possible so we're hoping to give our members that little bit of normalcy."

Greenwood says there were a decent amount of members who returned as soon as they're allowed.

"Most people are coming back the second we open our doors. We get around 80 per cent of our members returning right away. This time is a bit different because we can't offer cardio yet and there are some people that come just for cardio."

There are also some members who have asked to have their memberships paused.
continued below ...
"We've had about 15 members right now that have asked us to pause their membership. It is our loss but we'll work with everybody and accommodate them. We've paused those memberships and when they're ready to return, we'll begin their memberships again. If you had two weeks left on your membership when the closures happened, you'll have two weeks now."

Greenwood says the facility is open it's regular hours.

"We are a 24 seven facility. If someone wants to book at two in the morning they can do that. Our town is very fortunate that way."

It hasn't been the easiest having the building closed for extended periods of time but Greenwood says they've managed to handle everything with no real issues.

"We bought that building on November 30th of last year. We purchased with the assumption there would be a second closure. We ended up structuring our payments to handle that. We're fortunate that we've qualified for two provincial grants as well. The first closure we received $1,800 and the second closure we received $5,400 and there is promise of a third grant that I predict to be around $1,800 again. We can't knock the government for that. They were very easy to apply for. We're very grateful for that."

Greenwood adds that even with the help from the government, the timing of the closures has been difficult and she says that the community is grateful that they now have their go to option available again for workouts.

"We've lost our highest revenue earning months twice. That hurt. It's easier to find other sources of cardio but it's harder to find the resistance training aspect in a home gym. I think that the lost social connections were immeasurable to our members and they are quite happy to come back and do what it takes to keep it open."

Community support is something Greenwood says makes the gym what it is.

"We have the support of the community and they were really good about supporting us the second they could. If they can continue to support us that way together we can do amazing things with this facility."
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March 10th, 2021 ~ Vol. 91 No. 10
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