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Other health centers open their doors today following Whitmer’s orders.

After six months of Michigan’s gyms, fitness centers and pools being closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an executive order from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will allow them to reopen today, along with a plethora of new guidelines and precautions.

Some fitness centers, such as the JCC’s, are taking their time and are still in the process of planning the right way to go about a safe reopening.

“For now the JCC is reviewing the Governor’s orders to assess the practical implications of the new regulations on our fitness and pool operation,” JCC Chief Operating Officer Jeffrey Lasday told the JN. “Our outdoor pool will remain open as long as the weather permits. We are not opening the fitness center this week.”

Other nearby gyms with large Jewish customer bases will open today, including the Sports Club of West Bloomfield and Franklin Athletic Club in Southfield.

The Schvitz, a Detroit health club with historical Jewish roots, couldn’t be reached for comment but is closed for normal operating hours until further notice, according to their website.

New guidelines include: Gyms must require wearing of masks at all times, excluding while swimming; configure workout stations or implement protocols to enable six feet of distance between individuals during exercise sessions; reduce class sizes to enable at least six feet of separation between individuals; and limit capacity in the facility to 25% of the total occupancy limits.

Gyms must also provide equipment-cleaning products throughout the facilities and regularly disinfect exercise equipment, including immediately after use. Facilities must maintain accurate records, including date and time of entry and exit, names of patrons, and contact information, to aid with contact tracing. Facilities must also post signs outside of entrances instructing individuals not to enter if they are or have recently been sick.

Steam rooms, saunas, jacuzzis, and cold plunge pools are not to be opened yet.

For outdoor pools, facilities must limit capacity to 50% of the bather capacity limits, while for indoor pools, facilities must limit capacity to 25% of the bather capacity limits. Capacity must also be limited on pool decks to ensure six feet of distance between pool goers.

“Throughout this pandemic, we have followed the best science and data available to make decisions that will keep Michiganders safe, and our hard work is paying off. Today we are announcing the reopening of gyms and pools with strict safety measures in place to protect patrons and their families,” Governor Whitmer said [in her press conference? Executive order? Something else?]. “I urge everyone who plans to hit the gym after these orders go into effect to take these precautions seriously and do everything in their power to protect themselves and their families. Be smart, and stay safe.”

Jimmy Martin, Membership Director of Franklin Athletic Club, is taking the reopening as seriously as possible after being closed since St. Patrick’s Day.

“We’re going to safe distance, and the way we’re going to do that is to take most of the cardio off of the workout floor, and we have a really long, wide club, and we’re going to space those cardio machines at least 20 feet apart,” Martin said. “We just want people to feel comfortable.”

Jimmy Martin, Membership Director of Franklin Athletic Club JImmy Martin

According to Martin, Franklin is receiving many phone calls from people asking if they can assure them that the return will consist of a safe environment. Martin and Franklin, in turn, are filming videos of the precautions being taken and sending them to patrons.

“I’m going to video all of the safety protocols that we’re doing,” Martin said. “The disinfecting, the masks, the safe distancing. I want you to feel so comfortable that you don’t even think about it.”

Martin will be sending the videos to members, former members and the guest database.

Franklin will open the tennis courts on Wednesday and the indoor club on Friday.

Don Arndt, owner of the Sports Club of West Bloomfield, is looking forward to finally reopening today after a long six months.

‘We are completely prepared and fortunate to have a very large building, 170,000 square feet,” Arndt said. “We’ve socially distanced all of our equipment, we’ve got plexiglass shields up between instructors, and I think we’re very ready to open, following [Whitmer’s] rules safely.”

Arndt also pointed out that all of Sport’s Club’s studios have UV sterilization systems, which “kills 99.9999% of viruses, bacteria, mold, etc.”

“We’re opening with lesser hours, slightly, and then lesser classes until we get a feel of how things are going so we can do it safely,” Arndt said. “I think that’s really important that we start off slow, figure out what works, what doesn’t work, what we can do safely and what we can’t do safely, and then we’ll adjust accordingly.”

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