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Coronavirus Concerns: Should you stop going to the gym?

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — As concerns about the coronavirus continue to spread throughout the country and beyond, many gyms are having to step up their cleaning tactics.

Facilities in Rhode Island say they’re doing what they can to keep the virus at bay. Many say they’ve posted signs reminding people of the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

According to the CDC, the best ways to prevent the spread of coronavirus are:

  • Washing your hands
  • Covering your coughs and sneezes
  • Staying home when you’re sick
  • Appropriately disposing tissues and other items you’ve sneezed or coughed into

Erin LaCombe, sales manager at Edge Fitness Club in Warwick, assured members the gym is being cleaned frequently.

“I don’t think there is any reason to stop coming,” she said. “If anything you are building a healthier immune system here.”

However, infectious disease specialists like Angela Bengston, Ph.D., an assistant professor of epidemiology at Brown University, say you should think twice before going to the gym.

“I would say that the time for social distancing is now,” Dr. Bengston said. “I would strongly encourage people to consider staying home and to not visit their gym if it’s a crowded location, particularly for people who are over the age of 50 or have underlying health conditions, such as respiratory issues. It’s important to not put yourself at risk of contracting the virus.”

“For people who are younger and healthier, social distancing is equally as important,” she continued. “Staying home helps to protect you from contracting the virus and then spreading it to others, who might not fair as well if they get infected. I think the message is clear that we need to do all we can to stop the spread of this disease right now.”

Below is a list of the precautions some local gyms are taking:

Planet Fitness: Signage has been placed at the front desk of all 2,000+ locations that reinforces their sanitation policies, as well as health and wellness best practices for members such as reminding people about hand-washing and disinfecting equipment before and after each use.

“Planet Fitness, the health of our members, team members and neighbors is our top priority. We are committed to providing a clean and welcoming workout environment, and we have extensive cleanliness policies and procedures in place. Team members conduct regular and thorough cleaning of all equipment, surfaces, and areas of the club and gym floor using disinfectant cleaning supplies. In addition, they regularly complete overnight cleaning of the facility.”

McCall Gosselin SVP of Communications & Corporate Social Responsibility

Edge Fitness: Signs have been posted in its gym entrances with CDC safety recommendations. Manager Erin LaCombe said they’ve also stepped up cleanliness by ordering more disinfectant wipes and wiping down equipment more frequently.

Boston Sports Club: Steve DaSilva, general manager of the Providence location, says the corporate offices sent an email to all members with CDC recommendations. He added, “if you are sick, please help others and do not come.”

DaSilva also said corporate shipped more disinfectant wipes and cleaning chemicals to its clubs, they are wiping down equipment more often and hand sanitizer is available. A Lifespan doctor has also been giving team members some guidance on health and sanitary practices.

Orange Theory: President David Carney stated their precautions in an email on Thursday: “wipe down your equipment after every block, and don’t hesitate to request a new wipe whenever you need to.”

Anytime Fitness: Put up signs about their sanitary practices. (See below.)

Healthtrax Fitness & Wellness: has an updated website for coronavirus concerns and also encourages visitors to check their social media for live updates. They have also posted informational signs up front, at the entrance and around the fitness center. The gym also says they have overhead announcements every hour in the center and e-mail communication with members.

LA Fitness have not yet responded to our request for comment.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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