RIPLEY • After five weeks, Total Body Gym in Ripley was able to reopen after restrictions on gyms and fitness centers due to the COVID-19 pandemic were lifted.
The gym opened under strict guidelines last Monday, May 11. On Monday through Thursday, the hours were from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. On Friday, the hours changed from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. And on Saturday, the gym opened at 8 a.m. and closed at 2 p.m.
Just 20 people are allowed to workout in the facility at a time but owner Judy Gaillard says that hasn't been an issue at all in the first week back.
"We have an app where people have to schedule their workouts," said Gaillard. "The app will only allow 20 people to sign up per hour. We are asking that people limit their workouts to just one hour or less and we have had people be really respectful and follow those guidelines.
"As of right now, we are averaging about 10 people an hour. We've had it up to as much as 14 people in here at one point but nothing more than that. Our staff is included in the 20-person limit."
Gaillard and the rest of the five-member staff at Total Body Gym has pulled together to make sure that members have a safe place to come and get in the exercise they needed.
"We started doing a lot of this before the shelter in place," stated Gaillard. "In the five weeks we were shut down, I scrubbed these brick walls with cleaner and bleach so much it smelled like a swimming pool in here. We have placed around 10 bottles of disinfectant in every room. And we got the one with hydrogen peroxide, which they say is the best kind. We've placed hand sanitizer at the front door and have continued to encourage everyone to wash their hands as often as possible."
Gaillard went on to say that the staff used their time off wisely with repairs and upgrades throughout the building, including a fresh paint job.
Along with all the cleaning measures the staff has taken, the gym has cut all classes even though the new restrictions allows gyms to hold classes as long as they follow social distancing guidelines. The gym also has held off on personal trainers aiding in workouts as well as roping off every other piece of cardio equipment to ensure members could space out.
"This is a big deal to me," said Gaillard. "We have a 10,000 square foot property and that it more than enough to have people come in, workout, and do so in a safe manner."
Every other small business in America has felt the affect of the coronavirus but Gaillard said that her gym's members' faithfulness has been a "blessing" to her business.
"Our members are just a big family," claimed Gaillard. "We've lost just one member due to this shut down and it was for a medical reason, not for anything that the gym has gone through. I look at gyms all across the country on social media and see that they are having to close down permanently because of the hits they have taken and I just feel so blessed that we have had the support that we have had. We had members call us when this all started and said to keep drafting their dues to help support us and we even had some that asked if they needed to pay more to help us stay afloat. It's just been a huge blessing and I'm so grateful for their support."
The hours for the gym will remain the same as last week but hope to move back to 24 hours of service once more restrictions are potentially lifted in the coming weeks.