Matthew Asher, Carlsbad Current-Argus
Carlsbad’s fitness community embraced the reopening of gyms throughout the city. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham lifted restrictions on fitness centers on June 1 to allow them to open at 50% capacity.
Gyms were closed down by the governor statewide in March to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, along with restaurants, retailers and other “non-essential” businesses.
Group fitness classes remained banned under the state’s restrictions.
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Lujan Grisham said New Mexicans should remain vigilant as businesses were allowed to reopen by continuing to practice social distancing and wearing protective masks when not eating, drinking or exercising.
As of June 8, New Mexico had 9,062 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with a total of 38 in Eddy County and 32 in neighboring Lea County.
Southeast New Mexico continued to have lower numbers than northern portions of the state, with McKinley County in the northwest reporting 2,746 cases and San Juan County reporting 1,990 cases.
“Reopening our economy is not an invitation to forget about the risks of this virus – it is a mandate that we be more cautious and careful about our choices and decisions than ever before,” Lujan Grisham said.
“Just because you can go doesn’t mean you should. Ask yourself: Is this business operating with safe practices? When in doubt, err on the side of safety and stay home.”
While they were allowed to reopen, many local gyms and fitness centers in Carlsbad adapted to the new guidelines, increasing sanitation efforts and encouraging social distancing among guests.
Body Evolution has come up with some creative ways of keeping its members in shape. When the pandemic first hit this gym organized outside workouts limited to five people in March and has added videos from its trainers for people to view online back in April.
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Now with the gym re-opened with a 50% capacity limit, Aaron Ruiz, sales manager, marketing director and personal trainer for Body Evolution, noted the gym has nearly been back to normal with a few minor changes.
“We’re not doing babysitting and we’re not doing classes right now,” Ruiz said. “We’re hoping to introduce (the classes) next week.”
Ruiz said the gym hasn’t had to worry about exceeding its 50% limit because with Body Evolution North being a 24-hour gym and Body Evolution South being converted into a 24-hour gym, the gym rarely gets more than about a quarter of the initial capacity full.
“The only thing that’s really changed is the oilfield guys,” Ruiz said. “All the members who have been with us the last few years are all still here. The oilfield guys aren’t around as much.”
The staff makes sure to wipe down everything once an hour if the machines aren’t in use and gym members know to disinfect their weights and workout areas after working out.
“We’re taking every precaution,” Ruiz said.
Martin Lebrun, the owner of Carlsbad’s Anytime Fitness, keeps his gym open 24 hours now but has extended the amount of hours his staff is there to assist with the sanitizing of equipment. Now staff will be on site from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m., two additional hours. All the equipment is available but the gym is currently not holding any group classes.
For the 10 hours the gym doesn’t have staff in the building, Lebrun noted a drop-off in late night gym excursions and makes sure everything is cleaned in the morning
“What’s cool about our keyless entry is we can see trends,” Lebrun said. “We have a low turnout after midnight as a result of COVID. So we have a short period where we don’t have staff there. We review our DVR from last night to see if there’s anything out of the ordinary we have to take care of.”
Ted Cordova, the City of Carlsbad Assistant Coordinator of the sports complex, said the complex itself will reopen on June 15 “for conditioning and skills development and will be following all the guidelines set by the governor”.
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Cordova noted the National League portion of Carlsbad’s Little League has canceled its season due to COVID-19. The batting cages and fields will be open and individuals who wish to simply walk around the area while adhering to social distancing are allowed. The splash pad and the playgrounds are closed to the public.
Adrian Hedden can be reached at 575-628-5516, email@example.com or @AdrianHedden on Twitter.
Matthew Asher can be reached at 575-628-5524, firstname.lastname@example.org or @Caveman_Masher on Twitter.
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